Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader noted that this is one of the most comprehensive geothermal energy systems ever implemented by a college or university. “Several campuses have created small-scale geothermal systems to provide energy for a residence hall or perhaps to a few buildings on campus,” said Schrader, “but only a few other campuses in this nation have ever attempted to construct a system on a campus-wide scale.”
One of those few is Ball State in Indiana, where the first part of an enormous geothermal system is up and running. After the second part is up, 47 buildings will be powered by a 4,000-well system. Another geothermal campus is Ohio State, with 402 energy storage wells. According to the Sierra Club, sixteen U.S. universities have made a commitment to phasing out coal through the “Campuses Beyond Coal” program.
Another notable step forward in geothermal energy, a Southern Methodist University study (commissioned by Google) produced the most detailed geothermal map ever made. According to the SMU lab, geothermal energy potential in the U.S. is 3 million megawatts—more than ten times the amount currently produced by coal.
Colleges and universities nationwide are generally moving toward alternative energy. Huge solar projects from Vermont to Arizona contribute to green campus living. Some schools are powered by wind, and just within the past few months, a shiny plaque appeared across the outer bricks of New York University‘s Wilf Hall, reading “LEED Platinum.”
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