Carthage Schools Saving Big On Energy Costs After Installing Geothermal System

Carthage Schools Saving Big On Energy Costs After Installing Geothermal System
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The Carthage school district is seeing a definite return on its investment into a new geothermal heating and cooling system at Fairview elementary.

Last spring the school lost all ability to heat or cool when both its air conditioner and boiler crashed. Assistant Superintendent of Business Dr. Mark Baker says it was a chance to try something new and Carthage is saving big. He says, “So far we’ve saved in the first three months of comparison about fifteen thousand dollars, just in electrical bills.”

Without a boiler, there will be savings on gas too. The geothermal system was part of more than a million dollar overhaul to Fairview.

Sage Acorn, the regional construction leader for Controlled Technology Solutions or CTS says, “We took out almost all the ceilings in the school and ran the piping overhead to each one of the units.”

All units are connected with pipes. The pipes then run outside to a field where seventy-two wells are buried four hundred feet underground allowing nature to help heat and cool the school.

Acorn says, “When the water goes into the ground, it will cool or heat the water, depending on the time of the year, to that median temperature. And then all the units have to do is make up the difference, if that makes sense. If your room needs to be seventy-two degrees and that water (held underground) is fifty degrees, then the units make up the difference. So instead of having to use electricity to completely heat or completely cool the spaces, we’re gonna use the water and the ground to do the majority of the heavy lifting.”

Geothermal is also being installed at the new Carthage intermediate school. Eighty-five wells have been installed during the construction process which is a little bit easier than the renovation at Fairview.

Dr. Baker says, “The system’s underground. The big issue when you remodel is you have to go through the roof, the ceiling, whatever it might be so it’s much easier if you do it from the get go.”

And Dr. Baker believes geothermal will bring the district bigger savings down the road. He says traditional systems need to be replaced every fifteen to twenty years while these are expected to last up to fifty.

CTS makes energy savings part of its contract. If the school doesn’t experience savings, the company writes a check for the difference.