U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu toured the world headquarters of WaterFurnace International, Inc., Fort Wayne, IN during a statewide visit in support of energy initiatives.
Chu’s visit highlighted his announcement of a $50 million program to encourage the installation of geothermal heating and cooling systems.
Secretary Chu visited the city to discuss federal recovery efforts for auto communities and workers. As part of his visit, the secretary participated in a roundtable discussion with WaterFurnace executives, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, a WaterFurnace employee and a WaterFurnace dealer. Following the discussion, Sec. Chu toured the WaterFurnace facility with WaterFurnace President and CEO Tom Huntington, Chairman of the Board Tim Shields, and Mayor Henry.
According to Sec. Chu, the $50 million program will support three programs. The largest of the three will fund competitive grants open to companies like WaterFurnace that manufacture geothermal heating and cooling systems. These grants will apply to cost-shared technology demonstration projects that retrofit or incorporate a minimum of 50 tons of heating and cooling capacity.
Another program will provide grants to improve geothermal system technology, and a third will create a national certification process to increase consumer confidence.
Fort Wayne business leaders recently recognized WaterFurnace as the first business in the city to achieve Green City Business certification. As part of the Green City Business certification process, WaterFurnace attended a training session sponsored by the Fort Wayne Environmental and Energy Department. The program helps businesses save money on energy costs and adopt more environmentally friendly business practices as it targets pollution prevention, solid waste reduction and energy and water conservation.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has provided attractive tax credits for homeowners who install geothermal comfort systems.