I just got back from a discussion this afternoon hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and featuring Assistant Secretary Cathy Zoi from the Department of Energy on the topic of geothermal. Congressman Peter Welch also had the chance to speak of the bipartisan Home Star legislation that he introduced this week to help create jobs and make homes more energy-efficient.
I’m a fan of geothermal, where it makes sense. I was heartened though, to see many of the discussants talk about the importance of energy efficiency first. Geothermal often makes the most sense when we’ve maximized energy-efficiency. As a couple of the speakers mentioned–and as readers of this blog often hear–a critical first step is improving the envelope of the home. That is, making sure the home is well-sealed, well insulated, with good ducts were applicable, and extending even to efficient windows and doors. Geothermal–along other heat pump technology–is going to be a solid part of a smart energy future. And it will best deliver on its promise after we’ve made our homes and commerical buildings more comfortable and energy-efficient.
I captured Cathy Zoi’s opening remarks on a bit of shaky video.