Emerald City Getting Greener: Public Schools Installing Geothermal to Save $30,000 Annually
August 21, 2015 – You probably already think of Seattle as an eco-friendly city that tries to help out the environment when they can. But there is another big benefit to using less energy: saving money.
This summer, the Seattle School District had their old heating and cooling system replaced with a geothermal heat pump system. According to a recent Seattle news story, geothermal is being installed at Adams Elementary school in the neighborhood of Ballard, Wash.
What is Geothermal / How Does Geothermal Work
At the time that the story aired, 80 geothermal wells were being dug 350 deep into the ground on school property. Once the wells are dug, vertical geothermal loops are then inserted into the ground and later filled with an antifreeze solution.
The loops are then connected to geothermal heat pumps inside the school, which means there are no outdoor geothermal units exposed to the elements which can shorten the life of a heating and air conditioning unit.
It also means the geothermal HVAC units are not vulnerable to vandalism or having the copper stolen out of them, which has become a bit of a nation-wide problem recently with traditional heating and air conditioning units. These are just several geothermal pros and cons.
The geothermal heat pump system will circulate the solution through the loops in order to either absorb heat from the ground to aid in heating the school in winter, or when outside weather is hot, the heat pumps will transfer the school’s heat from the building into the ground. Click here to learn what is geothermal.
The video in the story shows several aspects of the geothermal installation: geothermal wells being drilled and brief shots of the geothermal heat pump system being installed by a local geothermal heating and air conditioner company.
Once the installation is complete, concrete will be poured over the ground where the geothermal loops reside. A parking lot and school playground will then be installed.
Any Heating and Cooling Bill Savings?
When the story ran, the geothermal system was just being installed, so it was too early for monthly heating and cooling bills to come in. But it’s safe to say they are expecting big savings. From the story:
“It’s probably the best system we can do, the biggest bang for your buck,” said architect Jeremy Theodore.
The district anticipates $30,000 of savings on energy reduction every year for Adams Elementary.
You could also save a lot on your monthly utility bill. Use our easy geothermal calculator to see how much you could save on your bills!
Part of the school system’s geothermal heat pump cost for installation was offset by a Seattle City Light rebate program.
If you are looking for a rebate or geothermal tax credit for your home, click here. Through 2016, a federal tax credit allows homeowners to deduct 30% of the total geothermal installed cost from your tax liability or tax due.
In addition, depending on where you live, you could qualify for local tax incentives. Visit our geothermal tax incentives page for more information.