ARVADA, Colo. — To battle the climate crisis, engineers are looking towards new environmentally-friendly housing. One community has created a neighborhood powered by solar and geothermal technology.
It’s called Geos Neighborhood located in Arvada, and it's one of the greenest neighborhoods in the country.
“Geos stands for Geosolar,” said Norbert Klebl, the designer of Geos Neighborhood. “At the moment, we have 30 homes that are finished and occupied. The neighborhood is unique because before we calculated the need for solar capacity, we were focusing on the actual energy requirements for heating and cooling those homes.
Geos Neighborhood is seeking to be a global example for green energy, by being a completely net-zero community, where the homes produce enough energy for the year with renewables.
“We are using ground source heat pumps for single-family homes,” Klebl said. “And we use solar panels for homes to be producing the needs for the homes."
Along with solar panels on each roof, Klebl included energy-efficient washers and dryers, triple-paned windows for insulation and charging stations for electric vehicles.
However, one of the impressive pieces of technology he has included is geothermal heat pumps.
“A lot of people know about the sun over our heads, but they don’t know what’s equivalent of the sun below our feet,” said Dar Lon Chang, one of the residents of Geos Neighborhood.
Chang moved into the area in 2019 and wants others to consider living arrangements like Geos Neighborhood to help the environment.
“The core of the earth is the same temperature of the surface of the sun,” Chang said. “Geothermal takes advantage of the fact that the warmth of the core of the earth radiates up to the surface. If you drill six or seven feet down, the temperature is pretty steady during the year. It’s steady here at 57 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use that as a reservoir for both heating in the winter and cooling your house in the summer.”
According to a report by the IPCC in August 2021, rapidly reducing methane gas emissions is critical to tackling the climate crisis. The report states methane is a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is widely used to fuel stoves and heat homes across the U.S.
Klebl hopes his geothermal and energy-clean neighborhood could be the future of housing.
“Thirty percent of all the greenhouse gases are produced by homes,” Klebl said. “And to eliminate that, we need to do what we did: Reduce requirements of energy and find more efficient ways of producing energy.”