The Caveman, the Wine Connoisseur and the Scientist
A 1912 Swiss patent is generally identified as the beginning of the Geoexchange industry. Another perspective is that humans have always recognised the value of geoexchange systems and their ability to utilise those stable, moderate temperatures found just below the earths surface.
Pre-historic man greatly valued these temperatures and there is a reason why they are referred to as Cavemen. Many thousands of years later, these same temperatures provided a reliable environment for food and wine storage and maturation. Today, wine cellars are the best example of these stable temperatures at work, while in some of the more extreme desert and alpine climates of the world, living just a few metres underground is a necessary survival measure.
As the below timeline exhibits, modern science and industry has just comparatively recently commercialised the value offered by these stable temperatures and made them more widely accessible.
Timeline of Modern Evolution
1912: First patented in Switzerland;
1930s: Technology first practically developed – although steel pipes cracked and froze in cold climates. Thus, while the concept was proven, practical application was not yet achieved;
1970s: The plastics revolution provided us with polyetheylene and polybutylene, both strong, flexible and durable pipe materials. Polyethylene and cross-linked polyethylene are now the only approved pipe materials for geoexchange systems in most international jurisdictions;
1980: WaterFurnace first founded as Genesis Energy Systems. Renamed WaterFurnace in 1983, this was the first major manufacturer to specialise in ground source heat pumps;
1987: The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) is formed at Oklahoma State University. IGSHPA, in coordination with industry, developed most of the research, training materials and installation guidelines adopted across the world today;
1992: WaterFurnace Australia founded in Adelaide.