Discover how Dandelion Energy’s geothermal innovation is reshaping home heating systems 

A leading installer of geothermal heating and cooling systems, Dandelion Energy Ltd (Dandelion) is an independent company operating primarily in the Northeast US. “Dandelion was originally conceived at Google X, Google’s moonshot factory aimed at introducing cutting-edge technologies that can have the power to transform the world. In 2017, we spun out of Google X and began to operate as a standalone company. We have been helping homeowners in the Northeast to reduce their carbon footprint ever since,” begins George Gibson, Supply Chain Director at Dandelion. 

Operating within a competitive industry, Dandelion sets itself apart by being a one-stop shop for geothermal solutions. “Because we offer residential retrofits for existing homes, end-to-end geothermal system design, and geothermal construction services, we can help anyone navigate through the entire process, whether they are a developer or homeowner and regardless of where they are on their geothermal project or their path to geothermal energy. Our geothermal systems involve three main parts. The first is a ground loop, which is a big, long, U-shaped pipe that we insert into a drilled hole that is 300-to-600 feet deep into the ground. To make these holes the appropriate depth for the heating needs of the system, we use different construction drill rigs. For instance, if we are working on a bigger project with a large house, we’ll need to drill deeper, and we’ll probably have multiple portals. In contrast, if we are on a smaller project that requires less heating, we would need either fewer or shorter boreholes. Once that ground loop is installed, it circulates a fluid made of water and glycol that can extract heat from the ground and into the home. The second part of the process involves the heat pump itself, which transfers the heat from the fluid to the indoor air. Lastly, the cooled fluid is subsequently circulated back into the ground loop to absorb more heat, and the cycle repeats. Dandelion’s ground source heat pumps are over four times as efficient as heating with fossil fuel systems. Moreover, as our heat pumps run on electricity, our customers are empowered to completely ditch oil and propane which has vast benefits for the environment,” explains George.  

Ahead of the curve 

George delves into the environmental benefits of Dandelion’s heat pumps. “By using electricity only to power the heat pumps, we avoid using fossil fuels. Additionally, our heat pumps are significantly more efficient than generic boilers and other heating systems. As a result, we are reducing an estimated 40 percent of emissions from residential housing. In fact, geothermal systems produce zero process emissions. When paired with clean and renewable electricity sources such as solar power, the only emissions that come from geothermal systems would be those produced during the manufacturing process of the system itself, such as emissions from equipment that runs on fuel,” he enlightens. 

Working with relatively new technologies empowers Dandelion to stay ahead of the curve, but also poses challenges with securing contracts with vendors. “Unlike solar energy, which is very popular now, geothermal is only beginning to gain more traction. Our geothermal projects involve combining a bunch of different industries into one. We work with drilling equipment, such as large industrial drills, to create boreholes, but we also use a steel casing to insulate and secure them. Moreover, we are also involved with the plastic industry seeing as our ground loop is made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). We also use different kinds of plumbing equipment to run the water and various Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Since we dabble in so many industries and operate within a relatively new sector, finding the right vendors who can supply us with the necessary materials at the desired price points is crucial. Especially so since our goal is to make clean energy, heating, and cooling systems affordable for everyone. For this to be possible, we must ensure vendors can meet our price points,” George elaborates.  

Robust relationships

Acting within the company as Supply Chain Director, George has a few tips for creating positive and reliable working relationships across the supply chain. “One thing that has helped us tremendously is our ability to clearly communicate what we need. With a strong engineering team and a workforce with extensive knowledge of geothermal technology, we have established excellent relationships with most of our vendors. These relationships are exactly what we need to establish an efficient supply chain. By collaborating with different vendors who can create precisely what we require, we have become as efficient as possible from both an installation and an energy standpoint. Thus, I think this level of efficiency depends on accurate forecasting and an understanding of what we need to order and communicating that to our vendors. The key to strong supply chain relationships is both ours and our vendors’ ability to plan,” he reveals.  

Data driven 

To further facilitate supply chain management, Dandelion implemented a new software system back in 2022. “NetSuite is our new ERP system, enabling us to manage virtually all aspects of our inventory. It gives us information on real-time transactions, allowing us to stay updated on inventory movements. Consequently, whenever our crew needs to take anything from the inventory, whether it is a tiny screw or a heat pump, the system instantly records the transaction. This guarantees an up-to-date and accurate inventory status. As a result, we’re able to generate accurate reports based on what we are using, what we need to order and the state of our run rates. These insights empower us to provide our vendors with a reliable forecast of our usage and future needs. All in all, Netsuite has been a huge asset for our company, facilitating the development of a highly efficient supply chain,” he concludes. 

Through strategic partnerships, enhanced planning, and a focus on customer affordability, Dandelion aims to further pioneer the geothermal industry and facilitate access to clean heating solutions.