Worldʼs Largest Closed-loop Geothermal Heat System
Ball State Universityʼs conversion to a campus geothermal heating and cooling system uses the near-constant temperature of the earth starting approximately ten feet below the surface of the ground to assist with heating in winter months and cooling in summer months.
According to Mike Luster, PE, LEED AP, senior mechanical engineer at MEP Associates who led the project at Ball State, geothermal systems offer college and university campuses a number of benefits. Those include operational energy cost savings, reduced system maintenance and associated costs, avoided costs the for handling the ash that would otherwise result from burning coal as a fuel; and reductions of the carbon footprint that otherwise would result from the use of fossil fuels to heat and cool campus buildings.
At Ball State, the geothermal system will heat and cool all 45 buildings on the 660-acre campus. The geothermal system is expected to save BSU approximately two million dollars per year in operating costs at todayʼs pricing and will insure future avoided costs for carbon taxing. The system will replace four coal-fired boilers and reduce the universityʼs net carbon footprint.“Beyond the substantial economic and environmental benefits of this campus-wide installation, the geothermal project also is serving as a platform for field-based research and education,” said
Professor Robert Koester, Director of the Center for Energy Research/Education/Service and Chair of the Council on the Environment at Ball State University. “Faculty and students are working across disciplinary boundaries; the university is connecting with its counterparts to share its findings; and our industry partners continue to help as we advance our collective understandings of the best practices in the use of this technology.”
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