LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two hundred homes in the Norton Commons community are now heated and cooled using technology which harnesses energy produced beneath the earth's surface. The goal is to create a 100% geothermal community.
"It's better for the environment, it's better for my pocket book, and it makes you feel good," Marilyn Osborn Paterson said.
Patterson lives and works at Norton Commons. She said renewed tax credits are making the systems more affordable than ever. The federal geothermal tax credit of 30% of the cost of a residential system was extended and made retroactive to purchases in 2017.
Investing in a geothermal system varies, but averages around $6,000.
Marilyn said the reduction in her monthly heating and cooling bill helps cover the cost.
"I would say it's almost $100 cheaper a month," she told us.
There's a lot of preparation for geothermal wells that happens before homes are even built.
"This has become a natural part of the process," Joe Kroll said.
Kroll's team contributed to dozens of the 200 geothermal homes built in Norton Commons.
"Kentucky is actually a perfect climate (for geothermal) because you don't have extreme temperatures," he explained.
The average earth temperature is usually 55 degrees in Kentucky. Pipes sitting below the home are full of liquid around the temperature. A unit inside the home then cools or heats the energy bought up from the pipes.
"We have done something a little different, we have tried something new and it's working and we are proud of it," Charles Osborn said.
Osborn told us Norton Commons is leading the way to becoming one of the largest geothermal communities in the country. Those who live here say the most noticeable difference is how quiet it is without condensing units.
"We are tuned in to smart building and we are glad to be a part of that," Osborn Patterson said.
The goal is for the geothermal community to have somewhere between 1,500 and 1,800 hundred homes, as well as retail space.