Some U.S. colleges and universities are cutting their energy costs by 30 to 70 percent after installing geothermal energy systems, and widespread adoption of the technology could help the nation’s 4,100 colleges and universities save an estimated $2 billion to $7 billion annually.
A report by the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program says that 160 colleges and universities in 36 states have already installed geothermal technology, which uses the constant temperature underground — about 55 degrees F — to cool or heat buildings by circulating fluids beneath the earth.
At Ball State University in Indiana, for example, administrators expect net annual savings of $2 million and a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions using a network of geothermal pumps that are replacing coal-fired boilers that heat and cool 45 buildings. At the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Grant Hall, a new geothermal system has enabled the building to maintain a constant temperature of 72 degrees while also significantly cutting energy costs.
According to the report, the nation’s colleges and universities spend more than $20 billion annually on energy, an average of $5 million per campus.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.