Geothermal System Expands on Pennsylvania Campus

West Chester University has received $5 million in grants to expand the geothermal system.

West Chester University has received $5 million in grants to expand the geothermal system on its West Chester, Pa., campus.

The money will enable the university to convert three buildings—Anderson, Recitation and Ruby Jones—to a geoexchange system using district wells. The conversion of these three buildings will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4.7 million pounds a year.

West Chester has 15 buildings using geothermal. When the entire district system is completed, it will have 1,200 wells situated mostly under parking lots, and 20,000 feet of piping. The cost of heating on the campus will be reduced by 40 percent and cooling by 20 percent. That translates to a savings of about $1 million a year.

In the long term, the geothermal system will enable the university to shut down its central heating plant, eliminate all coal (7,000 tons per year) and most fuel oil (200,000 gallons per year) burned on campus.

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