Evanston-based geothermal energy firm Indie Energy Systems has won a $2.45-million Department of Energy grant to demonstrate its high-tech underground heat pumps.

The company, founded by former software entrepreneur Daniel Cheifetz, will use the grant to retrofit the heating and cooling system at the offices of Local 150 International Union of Operating Engineers in Countryside.

Indie’s technology draws heat in the winter and coolness in the summer from the ground using proprietary software and smart meters to simulate and measure the amount of energy and cost that can be saved.

“The new energy economy can be jump-started right now by using renewable, geothermal energy to heat and cool both existing and new buildings,” Cheifetz said.

Indie Executive Vice-president Erik Larson said the company’s approach is “a more optimized, more efficiently designed system,” that lets buyers project savings that can be validated to justify the higher initial cost of the system.

The grants were part of $338 million in stimulus-funded geothermal energy grants recently awarded nationwide.

Indie, based at 1020 Church St., has about 30 employees. It has done several geothermal projects in the Chicago area, including at least two in Evanston.

Related links

Evanston firm nabs $2.5 million geothermal grant (Chicago Business)

Company press release

Housing goes green by digging deep (Evanston Now, May 28, 2008)

New west side housing plan goes ‘green’ (Evanston Now, Nov. 2, 2007)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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