GeoExchange Conference at UBC Okanagan offers open house for residential homeowners

Want to know more about using energy from soil or groundwater for heating and cooling your house? Here's your chance to learn from the experts.

The 3rd Biennial International GeoExchange Conference and Trade Show will be hosted at UBC Okanagan from May 13 to 15. "We're looking forward to our best and most inclusive conference yet," says Rachel Bolongaro, Conference Chair for GeoExchange BC.

Among the many activities is a free public open house for residential homeowners on Tuesday, May 12, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Student Service Centre lecture theatre, room SSC026. Other pre-conference technical workshops are also planned from May 11 to 13.

The public open house evening will start with an informal presentation describing geoexchange technology, how it works and how you can integrate it into your new building project or retrofit it to your existing house. There will be an opportunity to ask plenty of questions and all attendees will be given a complimentary pass to visit the exhibition and trade show on the Thursday afternoon, where they can meet with service providers and product suppliers.

UBC Okanagan was a natural choice for this year's GeoExchange BC conference, says Scott Schillereff, Chair of GeoExchange BC, the clean energy industry association that is organizing the conference in partnership with the Thermal Environmental Comfort Association.

"The UBC Okanagan campus is a captivating meeting setting situated in one of the most scenic regions in Canada," says Schillereff. "The campus features a state-of the-art geoexchange heating and cooling system, which is a great model for any institution that is committed to developing sustainable energy systems to reduce or even eliminate carbon emissions."

Earlier this month, the B.C. government and the federal government's Knowledge Infrastructure Program announced a $2.9-million grant for UBC Okanagan to complete its major geoexchange project -- retrofitting all academic buildings on the 105-hectare campus to use the university's new groundwater-energy heating and cooling system.

By replacing traditional natural gas-fired systems, the geoexchange project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 88 per cent from 2006 levels -- that 2,959 tonnes per year reduction is equivalent to taking 14,000 cars off the road over the next two decades.

"Our geoexchange system is already connected to the new Fipke Centre for Innovative Research and will soon be connected to all our academic buildings," said Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor at UBC Okanagan. "This groundwater energy system, and other sustainable technologies in our new buildings, are keys to achieving our goals of becoming virtually emissions-free and building the most sustainable university campus in North America."

More about UBC Okanagan's sustainability initiatives is online at http://www.ubc.ca/okanagan/sustainability

Details about the GeoExchange Conference can be found at http://www.geoexchange2009.com.

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