California & South Carolina Domes utilize geothermal pipes for heating & cooling

Kaufman garage house 153645′ dome home linked to 34 dome garage in Forest Ranch, California.

One of the most fascinating things about this house is that it uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling.  The system was expensive but they wanted to push the technology forward by experimenting.  How the system works is heat is collected from the dome interior and then pumped into the ground during cooling, and reversed during heating.  They hired an out of state company (no one was available locally or even in California) to drill four 180ft deep holes.  Crystal Air in Weaverville installed the system by placing tubing surrounded by Bentonite in the holes.  A two-way pump is run using energy from PG&E and a back-up generator, and the extra heat from this system is used to preheat the water for their on-demand tankless water heater.


Kolb exterior 40 27 P7120015Kolb 40′ Dome Home linked to 27′ – 2 car garage dome in South Carolina
utilizes geothermal energy for heating & cooling & was awarded EPA’s Energy Star.

This file contains information on three types of systems:

  • Water based geothermal systems
  • Underground copper tubes carrying a refrigerant
  • Undergound pvc tubes cooled and heated by solar energy

Colorado Geothermal Company.   American Ingenuity has learned of a respected Geothermal Company in Colorado named Major Heating.  Their main office is in Wheat Ridge 303-424-1622 and outlet in Steamboat 970-870-0983.

Geothermal Heating And Cooling

Klaus Kolb installed a Water Furnace Geothermal Heat Pump (a two ton Premier Model PO22TL101NADSSA) with a 1/2 HP Blower and a 1/2 HP Loop Pump in his South Carolina 40′ American Ingenuity Dome Home. In retrospect he realizes the 40′ dome needed only a 1.5 ton unit.

Klaus stated, “I buried two loops of 500′ each, 1/2” special plastic pipe by Water Furnace in a 2′ wide ditch 6′ deep in my pasture. At that depth and in our latitude, there is a constant temperature of 59 degree F (free buried sun energy). My heat pump uses this base temperature to either heat my home dome in winter to 70 degrees or cool in summer to 75 degrees. Thus my delta T (temperature differential) is very small, resulting in minimal energy consumption.”Klaus’s 2003 total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. dome. Some of the features of Klaus’s 40′ dome are:

  1. The dome’s insulation was Ai’s standard R-28 insulation (seven inch thick E.P.S. which is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglas batting).
  2. The tankless water heater used propane as the fuel. Klaus installed a Rinnai Continuum tankless (Troughflow) water heater. The specifications were: Whole House Unit Model REU 2424W-US; Min 19000 BTU, Max 180000 BTU; LP Gas.
  3. Geothermal cooling pipes were installed.
  4. The washing machine is an Energy Star which means it uses one half the water and one half the electricity of a standard washing machine.
  5. Compact Fluorescents were used through out the dome. 17 watts gives 60 watts of light; 27 watts gives 100 watts of light.

Two above photos show Klaus Kolb installing the plastic pipes.


To research GeoThermal Heating and Cooling Systems visit Water Furnace’s web site.

Water Furnace:

To research their web site, click on Water Furnace. The following info came directly from their web site.

What’s a “Water Furnace”? Water Furnace is a pioneer and industry leader in the development and manufacture of geothermal heating and cooling systems. We don’t just make them. We “practice what we preach”—by heating and cooling our Fort Wayne, Indiana, headquarters with our own WaterFurnace geothermal units. After all, we could hardly expect you to believe this technology is “Smarter from the Ground Up” if we weren’t convinced of it ourselves.

Our entire Fort Wayne complex serves as a working model for large-scale industrial and commercial buildings across the country. It uses what’s called a closed loop system spread over the bottom of a pond as its heating and cooling source. Sound remarkable? It is. Yet the science behind it is sound. We’ll explain it to you.

Geothermal Heat Pumps Key Product Criteria

Equipment Specification

Geothermal Heat Pumps

  • Open Loop: >=3.6 COP (H); >=16.2 EER (C)*
  • Closed Loop: >=3.3 COP (H); >=14.1 EER (C)*
  • Direct Expansion (DX): >=3.5 COP (H); >=15 EER (C)*
Product Type
Water Heating
Closed Loop
With integrated WH
Open Loop
With integrated WH
With integrated WH

Geothermal Heat Pump:

A geothermal heat pump model uses the thermal energy of the ground or groundwater as the heat source and heat sink for residential space heating and/or cooling. It may provide both space heating and cooling, cooling only or heating only functions. A geothermal heat pump model consists of one or more factory-made assemblies that normally include an indoor conditioning coil with air moving means, compressor(s) and refrigerant to fluid heat exchanger(s).

In addition, some or all of the domestic water heating shall be provided through the use of a desuperheater, integrated demand water heater or a separately installed compressor that provides demand water heating. The geothermal heat pump includes all the equipment and connections from the point at which the ground heat exchanger enters the house, except for indoor equipment that was installed by someone not representing the manufacturer or manufacturer’s representative, such as the ground heat exchanger installer.

Closed Loop System:

A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is permanently contained in a closed system.

Open Loop System:

A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is part of a larger environment. The most common open loop systems use ground water or surface water as the heat transfer medium.

Direct Expansion (DX):

A geothermal heat pump system in which the refrigerant is circulated in pipes buried in the ground, rather than using a heat transfer fluid, such as water or antifreeze solution in a separate closed loop, and fluid to refrigerant heat exchanger. A DX system includes all of the equipment both inside and outside the house. DX systems may be single or multi-speed.

Integrated Demand Water Heating:

This term is used to describe geothermal heat pumps that include a water heating function in the refrigeration cycle. Integrated demand water heating differs from desuperheater in that the integrated demand water heating model provides all or nearly all of the domestic hot water needs and provides hot water even when space conditioning is not required. This includes systems that employ the use of a separate water heating compressor unit or that use the same compressor for space conditioning and water heating. Also sometimes referred to as full-demand or demand water heating.


Coefficient of Performance – A measure of efficiency in the heating mode that represents the ratio of total heating capacity to electrical energy input.


Energy Efficiency Ratio – A measure of efficiency in the cooling mode that represents the ratio of total cooling capacity to electrical energy input. For DX systems, EER will be calculated in accordance with the CSA standard C748-94 Performance of Direct Expansion (DX) Ground Source Heat Pumps conditions.

The above information came from the EPA’s Energy Star Web site:



The following came from the web site:

Copper Tube is Key to Success of DX GCH Systems

Running the Copper LinesDirect-exchange geothermal systems use the earth as an energy reservoir, taking advantage of the constant 55°F temperature about 4 feet below the surface. Copper tubes run underground carry a refrigerant that circulates into and out of a home. A compressor unit induces heat exchange, and heated or cooled air is distributed through an air handler.

By running tubes underground, the heat-transfer medium in geothermal systems always enters a home at 55°F, unlike other systems that are exposed to much hotter and colder outside air temperatures. Once inside the home, the compressor concentrates and delivers the heat. To increase efficiency further in the air-conditioning season, waste heat can be transferred to the water heater. Research indicates that geothermal systems reduce heating and cooling cost an average of 30 to 60 percent when compared to air-source heat pumps.

According to studies conducted by utility companies, the greatest savings are provided by direct-exchange geothermal heating and cooling systems, since they burn no fuel and consume no energy beyond the electricity required to operate the compressor and the fan used to circulate the air.