In Vancouver, British Columbia, rated the third best city in the world for quality of living in 2019 by Mercer Consulting, one thing is very clear: Geothermal has a lot of fans.
With a population of more than two million people in the greater Vancouver area enjoying one of the highest ratings for quality of life, many are also choosing geothermal systems for residential, municipal and commercial builds. Considering the numerous benefits, it’s not surprising to see large construction projects embracing geothermal. But it’s especially gratifying to see how many individual residential projects have also opted in.
Since geothermal installations work by moving heat instead of creating heat, there are many environmental benefits including a reduced carbon footprint as well as the use of a sustainable renewable resource that already exists in the ground beneath homes and buildings — a win-win for everyone.
“Due to increasing awareness of global warming issues, eventually, I expect geothermal to become the gold standard for new homes,” says Ray Roussy, president of Sonic Drilling Ltd. in Surrey, B.C. Roussy, an engineer, is the developer and patent holder of modern sonic drilling technology, which is now in use in various applications across six continents. His drilling method has won four awards for best technology and he has subsequently patented the use of sonic drilling specifically for geothermal installations.
Meet the Fastest Drill on the Planet
With the ability to drill through mixed soils three to five times faster than traditional methods, Roussy’s sonic drills are already the speediest on the planet. But they come with an additional advantage that makes them ideal for geothermal installations, both big and small. In a patented one-step operation, sonic drills are able to drill the hole, case it, install the geothermal loop and then fill the hole with grout — something that no other technology in the world can do. With a clear savings from reduced on-site project time, sonic drills have quickly become the preferred drilling method for geothermal installations.
Vancouver Airport Catches Geothermal Fever
In an attempt to significantly reduce greenhouse gases, the Vancouver Airport Authority recently embarked on an ambitious $360 million geothermal project to construct a new Central Utilities Building. The new facility will house all the necessary equipment to heat and cool the airport. The airport’s new geo-exchange system will initially use approximately 1,100 geothermal holes, drilled 400 to 500 feet below ground, with additional holes planned for future projects.
Considering the airport’s soil conditions, which can be challenging for traditional drilling methods, the Vancouver Airport Authority opted to use Roussy’s sonic drilling technology. The customer specified equipment was able to drill easily and quickly, as well as provide one-step geothermal loop installation.
With his B.C.-developed sonic drilling technology now 35 years old, Roussy says he is delighted to see it at work on so many local projects, knowing the benefits it brings and the role it plays in furthering a clean energy future.