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Geothermal technology to foster carbon-neutral campus
by Patricia Boland
The M.U.M. Review
Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA Translate This Article
7 October 2008
This fall a pilot project commences to install geothermal technology for heating and cooling older campus buildings—part of a broader plan to make the University carbon neutral in global warming emissions in order to comply with President Bevan Morris's signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. . . .
Geothermal is already in use in a number of the University's new buildings, but this project plans to retrofit the whole campus. The electricity for geothermal heat pumps will be provided by solar panels and wind turbines, leading to a carbon neutral outcome.
'Combining sun and wind is good because here we have wind in winter and sun in the summer,' Mr. Stimson said. [Mark Stimson is the University's sustainability coordinator who is also accredited by I.G.S.H.P.A. as a geothermal installer.] 'The plan is to put in as much power as we use so we will be carbon neutral.'
Geothermal technology makes use of the earth, the greatest solar energy collector, by circulating water through looped plastic pipe that's buried approximately 15 feet underground where the temperature is a constant 55 degrees. During the coldest months, the method effectively takes the heat out of the ground, concentrates it using heat pumps, and circulates it in buildings like any other heating system. During summer, the process is reversed, taking advantage of the cooler earth temperature. Campus geothermal will be designed to allow more control of zones of heating or cooling, providing more comfort.
The two-month pilot includes Henn Mansion, one zone of the Sustainable Living Wing of the library, and two utility buildings. . . .
After the pilot the University will be able to assess any possible installation problems associated with retrofits and budget for campus-wide installation. The expense of wind turbines and solar panels will be made up in utility bill savings.
'Case studies I've been reading of other school systems report 44 percent savings in energy costs,' Mr. Stimson said. 'As the price of natural gas rises, then the cost savings increase.' . . . .
'People will be more comfortable and more ecological at the same time,' Mr. Stimson said. 'It's not like people will have to make a sacrifice.'
Copyright © 2008, Maharishi University of Management
Global Good News comment:
Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA offers Consciousness-Based Education to enliven the full creative potential and inner happiness of every student and teacher, eliminate stress, and enliven total brain functioning. The key technologies of this programme are the Transcendental Meditation Technique and Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme. The Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Living—the first degree programme of its kind in the nation—is the University's most popular major.
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