I nominate my design for geothermal foundations.
There is a natural equilibrium for efficient and economic foundation design: if you keep the pile diameters small, and the length around four metres, you get a very efficient pile. Then if you assume one precast concrete pile with one rebar for every five square metres on a building’s footprint, you have the magic formula. Simple and cost effective!
You end up with lots of piles in the ground but you can take advantage of this greater ground “contact”. If you combine these piles with a solar powered panel on the building’s roof and place a geothermal loop in each pile, you can use the pile as both a heat source and sink. In the winter, heat can be taken from the relatively warmer ground and in summer, solar heat can be transferred to the pile for storage.
Our system makes geothermal energy, affordable for low cost housing – the pay back takes less than four years.