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Lead-By-Example Policies for Geothermal Heating and Cooling

State governments can lead-by-example by promoting increased use of geothermal heating and cooling. Efforts to lead by example include establishing energy standards for public buildings that encompass renewable energy, green building, or energy efficiency requirements for new buildings, as well as energy use reduction requirements for existing buildings.

To lead-by-example and promote energy standards for public buildings, more than 30 states have adopted policies that include requirements such as:

  • Attain green building certification
  • Achieve energy-reduction goals
  • Exceed building code requirements by a specified percentage
  • Use renewable energy resources
  • Procure energy efficiency equipment and/or perform life-cycle cost analyses

Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and direct-use installations can help achieve green building certification and other energy efficiency standards as well as satisfy goals to use renewable energy for heating and cooling.

States like Michigan have taken their support for geothermal heating and cooling to the next level by requiring the use of GSHP. Michigan's Department of Technology, Management, and Budget performs and oversees a number of tasks related to achieving 25% grid-based energy purchases by 2015, including the use of cost-effective GSHP in state buildings.

Oregon requires certain new public building projects to invest at least 1.5% of the total contract price in solar technology for the facility, offering a policy model that could be used to promote increased use of geothermal heating and cooling technologies in state facilities. Learn more about this policy from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Learn about other policy options.