MSU Geothermal System Up and Running | VideoJenny Castro | 7/31/2012
The switch to geothermal energy has been a long-term plan at Minot State University, with the benefit of saving money and natural resources.
"So we`re doing something good for the environment, but we`re also doing something for the taxpayers of North Dakota by putting in this system. Because once it`s fully operational it`ll be self-sustaining,” said Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management Roger Kluck.
The system takes the earth`s temperature from 400 feet in the ground to generate both heat and cool air for buildings.
Four hundred twenty wells are on Hogan Field, above the university. From there, one inch pipes connect the wells to the 24-inch junction pipes in the mechanical room located in the new wellness center.
"Kind of like the veins in your body all the way up to the heart which is the pumps in this building,” said Kluck.
Just two weeks ago, the Wellness Center was the first building online and providing cool air from the system.
Right next door is the Dome. The volleyball team is getting their practice underway and they`re sweating extra hard. The air conditioning is off and they`re just using fans for now until the switch is made to geothermal.
"We expect to have Olson Library up in two weeks, we`re going to follow with Swain, the Dome and then Memorial yet this fall,” said Kluck.
All these buildings are connected by underground pipes to the mechanical room, and they`re only part of phase one. For the next phases, wells will be drilled underneath university parking lots.
It will be a ways down the road before the entire university is run on geothermal heat. For now, just the one building is a huge milestone, already saving money and natural gas.
Minot State University is the first school in North Dakota to go online with geothermal energy. Depending on the completion date, they might be the first university in the nation to run completely off of geothermal.
Ball State in Indiana is the only other university that is working towards becoming fully operational with the system.