Google launches Dandelion for affordable geothermal heating, cooling systems

A secret project that started in the labs of X, Alphabet's moonshot factory earlier known as "Google X," has now become a standalone company called "Dandelion." According to its website, Dandelion aimed to make geothermal heating and cooling systems more accessible and affordable, given their high cost as compared with alternatives.

In a statement about the company's launch, Dandelion chief Kathy Hannun said that they started the project, as they "knew if installing a geothermal heat pump was a simpler and more affordable process... homeowners would have access to a better product that's also better for the climate."

A geothermal system included a heat pump placed inside one's house and pipes called "ground or earth loops" buried underground. In simple terms when it is hot in the house, the pump absorbs the heat and dumps it into the earth. In winter it absorbs the heat from the ground and feeds it to the home. This is made possible by the fact that the temperature underground remains relatively constant all throughout the year.

Unlike Waymo, another X spinoff operating under Alphabet, Dandelion will be an independent company from the tech titan's umbrella of companies. It is now accepting inquiries from interested homeowners, starting with those located in upstate New York.

Typing their zip code of their location on the company website allows people to find out if their area is already covered.

Geothermal systems are environment friendly as they significantly cut down carbon dioxide emissions. In the northeast region of the US, where Dandelion will start offering its system, traditional heating and cooling generates a lot of carbon because it widely uses fuel oil or propane as heating fuel.

Buildings are responsible for 39 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in the US, according to the US Green Building Council. Most of these emissions came from the combustion of fuels to provide the building with heating, cooling and lighting, and to power appliances and electrical equipment.