Geothermal in a commercial building will displace the cooling tower and heating boilers. We provide thermal energy to the building which gets utilized by either heat pumps or chillers.
A Geothermal Utility Model
Tim Weber | Diverso Energy
What was the main driver behind starting Diverso Energy?
Having spent almost 10 years selling geothermal to both residential and commercial clients, we realized there was some major barriers to market acceptance including:
- Limited access to capital or inability to recover their investment
- Resistance to the perceived risk and complexity associated to the technology
Diverso Energy was specifically created to eliminate these hurdles.
What makes Diverso Energy or what you provide unique?
We offer a geothermal utility model where we design, build, own and operate the geothermal borefield very similar to a conventional utility. The result is that our clients are able to achieve the energy and carbon targets and reduce their construction budget, not increase it. Additionally, our ownership team has over 25 years of experience and over 200 commercial design and installations. This experience combined with the business model makes us very unique.
What building or customer is the right fit for your model?
Our model is ideally suited to buildings over 100,000 sqft. It has proven to be very attractive to multi-unit residential, commercial or institutional clients.
Can you tell us about the process of installing a geothermal energy system?
We work very closely with the project design team to integrate geothermal into the existing design and minimize the impact to the construction schedule. Because of our experience we are able to help them optimize the system and ultimately reduce the project budget not increase it. Once this is accomplished we coordinate the geothermal installation based on the project schedule.
How does the system work?
Geothermal in a commercial building will displace the cooling tower and heating boilers (immediately generating a savings for the owner). We will drill holes in the ground and install pipes that circulate water through them. Our borefield will provide thermal energy to the building which gets utilized by either heat pumps or chillers. Essentially, our borefield is like a thermal battery where heat is reject into the borefield in the cooling season and extracted from it in the heating season.
Do you have a financial breakdown and payback example for a typical installation?
The great thing about our business model is the conversation around payback or ROI is no longer relevant. Because we pay for and operate the system, there’s no investment (capital outlay) for the client. The client’s benefits are different for each project, but in each case clients are seeing tremendous financial and marketing benefits. Furthermore, we will only engage in projects where we are confident our annual charge will be offset by operational savings directly associated with the geothermal system, so clients can be confident that the arrangement will make sense long-term.
What is the benefit to the client if they implement geothermal with your business model?
There are many benefits our solution provides our clients including:
- We will reduce their construction budget
- A 70-80% carbon reduction
- Total building energy reduction of anywhere from 20-30%
- A performance guarantee for the life of the contract (if we don’t deliver, our clients don’t pay)
- Removal of all of the mechanical equipment on the roof such as cooling towers
- Many additional real estate based benefits that are project specific including additional GFA, increased architectural freedom (e.g. larger windows & rooftop terraces, etc.)
How many projects have you completed so far?
We have five projects in various stages of construction under the Diverso Energy Brand including another 6 starting in 2019 and over 200 projects completed by the ownership team over the past 12 years.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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