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Paving the Way to a Cleaner Future
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2011 7:00 am

Much attention is paid to controlling inside environments. Too hot? Turn up the AC. Too cold? Crank the heat. Therma-HEXX takes a more inclusive view. The Portsmouth-based startup aims to improve the way people heat and cool their environments—both inside and out.

The ThermaPAVER is an invisible low-cost solar collector and heat exchanger that works with standard pavers, either ground or pedestal mounted, to maximize energy conservation and solve common problems. Mounted on paving stones (which on roofs can heat to 140 degrees) the system can heat domestic water or swimming pools in summer by pulling heat out of the pavers. Removing that heat also cools the pavement surface. In winter, ThermaPAVERS can be combined with a geothermal system to send 50-degree energy under the pavers on roofs and driveways to melt snow on contact.

The system consists of a fitted aluminum panel with foam insulation and piping carrying a heat transfer fluid that is nested under a paving stone. The panels interconnect with each other to transfer heat where it is needed.

CEO Robert Barmore won a $95,000 grant from the Green Launching Pad in Durham, which connects entrepreneurs with University of NH faculty and students to help launch green businesses. Barmore used the money, with help from UNH interns, to develop patents, do engineering work and start production. The product is assembled in NH, with components sourced locally and globally. (Plastifoam in Manchester provides the foam.)

“It’s a value added product,” says Barmore, a former architectural designer and builder of high-end homes in Colorado, who has owned other businesses. The system costs about $17 a square foot, and can be combined with a geothermal system and/or hot water storage tank, depending on the project.

Barmore and his wife are currently the only employees, though he has a network of sales people who are paid on commission. He spent four years developing the idea while he and his wife traveled the country as insurance adjusters. “We really threw it all on the table,” he says. Then they connected with Warren Daniels of the NH Small Business Development Center, who suggested applying to the Green Launching Pad. The product is included in a few spec plans for developments and he was hired to put Therma-HEXX in a Concord driveway to melt snow. Barmore plans to hire about five people this fall. For more information, visit www.thermapaver.com.

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