tations. The capital required to install a system can be higher
than many FMs can even consider managing. However, it is
mostly a one-time investment that pays dividends through its
expected energy savings. Either way, it is a major decision to
make for a facility.
To sway that decision towards the more affirmative option,
the federal government has implemented a series of programs
and incentives for installation. In addition to tax breaks that
have aided those looking towards renewable energy like geothermal, projects like the Small Business Vouchers Pilot provide businesses with more opportunity for renewable energy,
However, researchers at the Insitute of Political Economy at
Utah State University point to indicators outside of government
After the installation of a system, geothermal solutions do
not take up much space because the system works under-
ground. Therefore, you can easily cover it, which can save
space and give aesthetic freedom to design above the system.
Moreover, heat pumps are versatile and allow more options
for installation. “Geothermal heat pumps circulate water or
other liquids through pipes buried in a continuous loop, either
horizontally or vertically, under a landscaped area, parking lot or any number of areas around the building,” says the
Geothermal Energy Association.
Of course, as with any technology, geothermal has its limi-
IDAHO CAPITOL BUILDING
COLORADO CAPITOL BUILDING
The Colorado State Capitol is the first state
capitol building to be cooled by ground source
heat pumps. The system was added in 2013 as part of a
larger energy performance contract covering all 19 of the Capitol’s
buildings. It uses an open-loop two-well system at a depth of 850
feet, which supplies constant 65-degree aquifer water.
ment that was
from 25 to 70
years old with-
loop load by
approximately 200 tons per year,” notes the Colorado Depart-
ment of Personnel and Administration.
The $6.6 million project was offset by a $4.4 million DOE grant
and a 15-year lease-purchase contract based on avoided costs.
According to the Denver Post, the system “will save an estimated
$100,000 in heating and cooling costs in the first year. The savings should escalate each following year by 3%.” Colorado’s capitol remains the only one to earn LEED EB O&M certification.
Idaho has the only capitol building in the U.S.
that is heated by geothermal hot springs. This
thermal energy system uses steam from a hot water source 3,000
Boise has four independent geothermal heating districts that
support 5 million square feet of government, commercial and residential space. According to the Boise Public Works Department,
“The city system, which serves 86 buildings, is the largest direct-use geothermal heating system in the U.S.” The State of Idaho
oversees the system that heats the capitol and several additional
facilities along the mall.