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Ball State University Completes Nation's Biggest Ground-Source Geothermal System with Support from Recovery Act

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Category: Energy
Type: News
Source: US Department of Energy (Geothermal)
Date: Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above approach to American energy, the Energy Department today congratulated Ball State University for its campus-wide ground-source geothermal system, the nation's biggest geothermal heating and cooling system. Building on significant investment from the State of Indiana and the University, the Energy Department provided key support for the plan with a $5 million grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Ball State system-which the university anticipates will save $2 million annually in operating costs and cut its carbon footprint by nearly 50%-is one of many Energy Department investments helping to reduce energy costs, diversify the nation's energy portfolio, and create clean energy jobs across the country.

"The President has made clear that we need an all-of-the-above approach to American energy-an approach that uses homegrown and alternative energy sources designed and produced by American workers," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "That is why the Energy Department is committed to supporting plans like Ball State's new geothermal system that reduces energy costs, diversifies the university's energy portfolio, and supports good, local jobs."

Launched in 2009, Ball State's geothermal system will replace 4 aging coal-fired boilers to provide renewable power that will heat and cool 47 university buildings, representing 5.5 million square feet on the 660-acre campus. To provide heating, the geothermal heat pump removes the heat from the fluid in the Earth and transfers it to the building. For cooling, the pump removes heat from the building and transfers it back into the Earth. Nearly every component of the Recovery Act-supported system was manufactured in America, and Ball State has contracted with in excess of 50 Indiana firms to complete the project, which included drilling 3,600 boreholes around campus.

Buildings consume about 40% of total energy in the U.S. The Energy Department's support for plans like the Ball State geothermal system underscores the Administration's commitment to clean, efficient energy solutions that can create significant costs savings. The innovative geothermal system highlighted today demonstrates the tremendous potential of sustainable energy technologies, and serves as a model for other major facilities and universities across the nation.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about EERE's support of building technologies.

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