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Skidmore College

Greening

May 13, 2016
Lundberg at a campus geothermal hub
Lundberg at a campus geothermal hub

This summer Skidmore begins the installation of geothermal wells to serve the college's future Center for Integrated Sciences. The work will include blasting and removal of rock and drilling of some 240 wells nearly 500 feet deep.

Bad news: it'll be inconvenient for some building and parking access. Good news: it'll raise to more than 50% the amount of campus building space being heated and cooled geothermally-a very green and cost-effective system.

"No other college or business in the region has reached the 40% geothermal mark," according to Paul Lundberg, facilities project manager. "But what makes Skidmore truly distinct is our district approach to capturing and distributing geothermal energy. No one else in the area is doing this."

Lundberg explained that unlike a standalone geothermal system that serves a single building, a district field flexibly supports multiple buildings. By creating district systems, Skidmore has reduced the amount of wells and infrastructure required to heat and cool the campus. The college has installed two district fields and related "energy nodes"—one behind  Bernhard Theater, and the other south of the Tang Museum. This summer's CIS project will be the third.

Did you know…

  • 12% of campus electricity comes from a large solar array and 18% from a small hydroelectric dam.
  • Skidmore already has 430 geothermal wells, serving the Zankel Music Center, Filene Music Building, Saisselin Art Center, Northwoods and Sussman Village apartments, Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, Wiecking Hall, Tang Museum, and Dance Center.
  • 40% of campus electricity comes from renewable sources (10% of it through Skidmore's utility supplier), with a goal of 60% by 2025Six rooftop solar hot-water projects offset natural gas and electricity use.
    Since 2000 Skidmore's energy use for campus heating and cooling, both per student and per square foot, has dropped by 50%; the goal is 60% by 2025.
    Skidmore's greenhouse-gas emissions fell by 48% between 2000 and 2013; stats to be gathered soon could show the drop to be nearly 75%, which is the 2025 goal.
    Soon more than half of campus building space will be heated and cooled through geothermal energy, with a goal of 60% by 2025.

Find out more

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