A recent article in the Oswegonian, the independent student newspaper at SUNY Oswego, details a campus project to incorporate geothermal wells to “reduce fossil-fuel energy costs and support green energy.” On Oct. 12, 2011, contractors finished drilling the final of 240 wells. The project was funded by the SUNY Construction Fund.
Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps) have been in use since the late 1940s. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. This allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300%-600%) on the coldest of winter nights, compared to 175%-250% for air-source heat pumps on cool days.
While many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes—from scorching heat in the summer to sub-zero cold in the winter—a few feet below the earth’s surface the ground remains at a relatively constant temperature. Depending on latitude, ground temperatures range from 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (21°C). Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. The GHP takes advantage of this by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger.
SUNY Oswego has reduced the campus carbon footprint by 8 percent since 2010 by incorporating green technologies into the campus. The campus is working towards a goal of reducing the carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2015.
Follow this link to Oswegonian article – Geothermal Wells Reduce Fuel Need >>