Home Show: Addressing greenhouse gas concerns

Geothermal technology, solar hot water systems and wind turbine generation are starting to find an attentive audience.

  • Feb. 22, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Selling the benefits of more sustainable energy options for homes has not been an easy sell.

But for Leigh Bond, founder of Threshold Energies in Edmonton back in 2004, his company’s foray into the benefits of geothermal technology initially, followed by  expansion into solar hot water systems and wind turbine generation, are starting to find an attentive audience.

Most notably, that attention at least in Alberta is coming from the home construction industry, engineers and building inspectors.

“I spoke recently to the Alberta home construction association people and I thought they might be a tough crowd for our ideas, but I had a lot of positive feedback from people there,” Bond said.

“When we started out eight years ago, if we had two calls a week we’d be happy, but now we’re not happy unless we get two calls a day.”

Threshold started out focused on geothermal technology systems, but the company now has six different technologies that it markets.

“We design and build the systems, and then we go and install them. We do everything from houses to big commercial office buildings.”

Threshold has an office in Kelowna run by Threshold BC president Dean Schurian, who Bond thinks has installed more geothermal systems than anyone else in Canada.

“There has probably been about 60,000 geothermal systems installed across Canada, and Dean has done more than 700 residential and commercial installations himself,” Bond said.

Bond said he welcomes the opportunity to be a presenter at the Kelowna Home Show this weekend, to help try to educate people about alternatives to standard home energy systems.

“I know there are still a lot of people that don’t understand how all these new systems work,” Bond said, noting that home builders have been reluctant to buy in as well because of the higher up-front construction costs.

“These are not new ideas that we are advocating, geothermal or solar power, they are old ideas that we are trying to re-introduce into our building practices.”

Bond said Kelowna has seen examples of geothermal technology put to use by building facilities at Okanagan College and many of the new homes in the Wilden subdivision that began development in Glenmore over the last decade.

“The goal here is to get people to understand  these technologies have been around a long time, so let’s use them. They are green, they help do something in relations to concerns about the greenhouse gas problem that we’ve created. The technology is there. We just need to go out and use it. It’s just a matter of understanding how  to go about it.”

Bond is no stranger to technology, having spent 29 years as president of a technology company that developed a software inventory system for automobile parts that has become a vehicle repair industry standard.

An enthusiastic geothermal advocate, Bond also teaches a geothermal installation certification course at NAIT (Northerm Alberta Institute of Technology) and a consumer geothermal course at Edmonton public schools.

Bond will give a presentation on alternative energy options for homes and commercial buildings at the Kelowna Home Show on Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 23, 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 24, 12:30 p.m.