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Proposal for pilot program replacing HVAC with geothermal systems for buildings in highest city heat zones. See http://bit.ly/1FFcKDA


Description

Summary

That is the administrative paperwork involved in drilling a well in Cambridge?  How much can that delay a project, what would be the cost for the contractor?  Buildings who wish to use geothermal energy for heat or cooling their homes require these wells.  Because of the lack of available land space, urban geothermal wells are typically vertical, have high up-front cost and long term energy and cost savings for the owner.  If there are many buildings in close proximity planning a geothermal upgrade, the city administrative overhead and construction cost for each well could be minimized by approving a "cluster" of wells in one geographic area to support multiple buildings.  These wells could be drilled in a parking lot, back alley, even sidewalk.  Any work completed would involve restoring the surface area back to prior condition.

An important issue is to drill as many wells as possible at one time.  Equipment transportation is a large cost of rental.  By spreading the cost over multiple wells, the net cost per well is low.This will reduce thermal energy release in these hot spots through the following:

  • The Air Conditioning heat release, typically indoor air heat to outdoor air will be sequestered into the ground.
  • Geothermal heat systems are more efficient than air-to-air, reducing the thermal energy operating loss and power consumed within the area.

The city of Cambridge could be a catalyst of change by expediting the process to develop a series of geothermal well clusters for HVAC upgrades within these high-heat areas.  This can include expediting the permitting process, grants to cover construction and 10 year easements to delay taxes for property owners who take advantage of these incentives.


Category of the action

Adaptation


Who will take these actions?

There would need to be a report completed that would identify potential locations in public or semi-public space for the clusters and comparisons to locations of potential users. 

There are many heating companies that have experience in, or specialize in geothermal heating systems.  Experienced professionals should be involved within the evaluation, such as these from a quick Google search:

 

Replacing the heating system for a large, old building could cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Setting up incentives with local financial institutions would need to be arranged. The property owners should receive a net positive cash flow for the effort while the loan is paid, and a significant net gain once the loan is paid off.

After 10 years, the well owner would pay real estate taxes based on the well cost.


What are other key benefits?

Extreme heat locations would use less energy for air conditioning while the energy emitted from existing air conditioners would not be released into the local environment but would be sequestered into the earth where it would slowly rise to the surface over hours or days.


What are the proposal’s costs?

The proposal costs would vary according to the building.  Installing a geothermal heat pump is typically $20-50,000, but the majority cost is drilling the well.  By focusing on reducing the cost of that component, the overall cost would drop significantly.  The long-term gain of the property owner is significantly lower cost of heating and cooling and increased property value going forward.


Time line

The proposal costs would vary according to the building.  Installing a geothermal heat pump is $20-50,000, but the majority cost is drilling the well.  By focusing on reducing the cost of that component, the overall cost would drop significantly.  The long-term gain of the property owner is significantly lower cost of heating and cooling going forward.


Related proposals

Found this proposal after submitting my own.  Very common ideas.


References