Heating and cooling for the new Living and Learning Student Residence Hall (LLRH6), currently under construction, will be provided by a geothermal field located below the surface of Olmsted Green. The geothermal system—considered state-of-the art in green energy production—will consist of a grid of approximately sixty to eighty wells and distribution system. The consulting engineers, Setty & Associates recommended the geothermal system in a feasibility analysis commissioned by the university in August 2010.
The geothermal system on this, and potentially other future projects, presents a viable means to relive demand on Gallaudet’s aging central boiler/chiller plant. Given the available geothermal capacity of campus open spaces, the energy efficiency and relative ease of maintenance the Setty report made a compelling case for considering a long-term plan for transitioning the campus from the central plant to a dispersed, all geothermal system. The field supporting LLRH6 will serve as a test case. Should it prove as successful as planned the project could mark the beginning of a new era of sustainability for Gallaudet University.