A world-first trial using earth and groundwater to heat and cool a residence will take place at LandCorp’s Cool Earth project in the Western Australian housing estate of The Vive at Craigie.

LandCorp is working with several partners to bring the Cool Earth project into fruition, including the ABN Group, Carbonomics, The University of Western Australia and GeoExchange Australia.

LandCorp Chief Executive Frank Marra said open loop geoexchange technology has the potential to revolutionise how homes are heated and cooled, and called the trial of an open loop system at LandCorp’s Cool Earth project the “first of its kind anywhere in the world”.

Although a similar trial was conducted by American Professor Jeff Spitler in Georgia, it involved a “closed loop’ ground heat exchanger as opposed to an “open loop’ system.

“The system uses the natural environment rather than electricity derived from fossil fuels to create a more efficient, affordable and environmentally-friendly home heating and cooling option for West Australians.

“By shaving peak electricity loads, it’s estimated the system can potentially reduce yearly heating and cooling bills by as much as half.”

Two homes will be build side-by-side at The Vive Estate, with one house to be fitted with new technology and the other with a traditional air-conditioning unit – allowing LandCorp to measure the effectiveness of the open loop geoexchange technology.

“Over a two year period, a comparison of the performance effectiveness of the new technology in Perth’s unique environment will be undertaken, and the data published to allow industry to benefit from the findings,” Mr Marra said.

“The outcomes of this project will inform the development industry and potential customers about the benefits of ground source heat pumps, and their potential to promote energy efficiency and affordable living by reducing peak electricity loads.”

Mr Marra said a registration of interest process is now open for people who want to stay informed as the project progresses and learn more about the upcoming sales of the two Cool Earth houses.