Published on May 31st, 2018 | by Kyle Field0
Updated! Alphabet Labs Spinoff Dandelion Geothermal Launches The Dandelion Air For Efficient Residential Geothermal Heating & Cooling
May 31st, 2018 by Kyle Field
This article was updated after its initial publication with responses from Dandelion Energy.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, spun Dandelion out of its X labs in the middle of last year, which was followed closely by a noteworthy funding round. It’s clear that the Dandelion team is putting its new capital to good use with the announcement this week about its new Dandelion Air all-in-one home heating and air conditioning system.
The Dandelion Air brings all of the intelligence you would expect from a startup with roots in Silicon Valley, and rolls that together with an efficiency that’s more than four times better than the best furnace money can buy. On the cooling side, the Air is almost twice as efficient as a traditional air cooling system.
Now that I have your attention, it’s worth mentioning that Dandelion was founded to explore the potential of geothermal energy with high hopes of developing a residential scale solution with the potential to disrupt home heating and cooling.
From the sound of things, the Dandelion Air does all that in spades. At its core, the Dandelion Air taps into the ground to extract heat energy for home heating or as a heat sink, to pull the heat out of the air for home cooling. It’s the same principle a heat pump uses, but instead of tapping into the extreme variability of the air, the Dandelion Air goes deep to tap into the extremely stable temperatures buried a few feet down in the earth which provides more predictable results and apparently, higher efficiencies.
The system is only available as part of a complete Dandelion Home Geothermal System, as it requires the geothermal sink to function. All told, the system is available for less than $20,000 USD, which is about half the cost of traditional residential geothermal systems. Much like the solar industry has done for its systems, Dandelion is offering zero-down installations with payments starting at $135/month over 20 years which will deliver an expected savings of 20% annually on the cost of heating and cooling a typical home.
For homeowners that are concerned about emissions from a traditional furnace, the Dandelion Air offers a low maintenance, safe, connected solution that eliminates the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from a traditional furnace.
Being an Alphabet spin off, Dandelion’s roots in software touch nearly everything the company does. It is currently using the Nest Thermostat as the front end of the system and also has it’s system set up much like a computer. This provides a foundation for future updates to the system over time, much like a smart phone or a Tesla. A company spokesperson shared that, “We are investing in a lot of advancements on the software side and features associated with smart home heating. Our systems are set up like computers, so they can receive software updates.”
On the hardware front, Dandelion partnered with Tulsa, Oklahoma-based HVAC manufacturer AAON as for the actual production of the Dandelion Air system. AAON has its own water-source heat pumps providing heating and cooling for tens of thousands of buildings today.
“We’re thrilled to partner with AAON on the Dandelion Air,” said James Quazi, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer of Dandelion. “AAON uses state-of-the-art automation technology for precise, time-efficient production of each unit. Together, we will continue to drive up quality and drive down costs of home geothermal heating and cooling.”
On the installation front, Dandelion has partnered with numerous top-tier residential HVAC installers in its home territory of New York state to install the Dandelion Air. Installation of the Dandelion Home Geothermal System is understandably much more intensive as it requires the installation of underground pipes, a buffer tank for hot water, the Next thermostat and a smart monitoring system for all the Dandelion goodies. The system itself has a life expectancy of 20+ years.
Dandelion is currently offering the Dandelion Air to customers in New York State and Dandelion’s website has more information. Looking beyond New York state, Dandelion shared with us that, “We’re in active conversations with contractors around the Northeast United States, so expect to expand to the states surrounding NY first. We have no set timeline.”
For the time being, Dandelion Energy is gathering customer info for customers who express interest in a Dandelion system on its website but is not making any contractual reservations beyond its current scope in New York state. They have nearly 6,000 customers who have expressed interest in a system across all 50 states in the U.S.
We have reached out to Dandelion to learn more about its plans to expand into new products and regions and will update the article if/when we hear back.