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Colleges See Value in Heat Pumps for Heating and Cooling

  • 21 December 2022
  • By Celsius Energy


An expanding number of colleges are transitioning towards using ground source heat pumps (GHSP, geothermal heat pumps or GHPs) for their heating and cooling. Read on to learn more about how this is happening, what ground source heat pumps are and how they provide outstanding heating and cooling solutions for an array of buildings.

Many Colleges are Turning to Ground Source Heat Pumps for Heating and Cooling

The 2021 U.S. Geothermal Power Production and District Heating Market Report, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), shares how university and college campuses are reportedly setting and meeting goals in transitioning from using fossil fuels for heating on campus.

“University and college campuses are currently leading the charge in pursuit of low-carbon district energy options as a result of aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction goals (often 100%) within the next 15 to 30 years,” the report says. “With many of the campus emission reduction goals nearing their intermediate 2020 and 2025 targets, campuses are actively seeking low-carbon solutions for their campus energy needs.”

Campuses transitioning towards large-scale ground source heat pump systems for on-campus heating and cooling include Cornell, West Virginia University, Princeton University, Carleton College and Ball State University, among others.

“As of 2020, more than 650 university and college campuses have signed onto the Climate Leadership Network’s Carbon Commitment, Resilience Commitment, or Climate Commitment (Second Nature 2020),” the report says. “Many college and university campuses … are currently installing or expanding district energy systems powered by geothermal heat pumps as part of their decarbonization strategies.”

What is Ground Source Heat Pump Heating and Cooling?

Beneath the Earth’s surface, temperatures remain relatively constant despite fluctuations above ground. A ground source heat pump takes advantage of the Earth’s natural heat source. It allows calories to be exchanged with the subsurface, extracting them from the building in summer to cool it down and supplying them back to the building in winter for heating. A simultaneous supply of heating and cooling is also possible.

Ground source heat pumps recycle the Earth’s existing heat, making it a more environmentally-friendly solution than managing the pollutants resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels for heating and cooling.

History of Geothermal Technology

Geothermal technology is a cutting-edge, albeit ancient, technology. The oldest geothermal heating network was installed at Chaudes-Aigues in France in 1330. To this day, the village still uses geothermal today for its heating. With over half a millennia of use, this technology is tested and safe.

The Commercial State of Geothermal Power

Another type of campus powered by geothermal technology is Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington, U.S.A., just outside Seattle. As soon as 2023, this campus will contain one of the world’s largest ground source heating systems, the Thermal Energy Center.

The large-scale heating and cooling capacity of the Thermal Energy Center is a part of Microsoft’s plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 in its daily operations. Ground source heat pumps will shepherd the Microsoft campus toward that goal.

“To remove fossil fuels from daily operations, it had to eliminate natural gas from kitchens and heating and cooling systems,” says a release on Microsoft’s website. “Because it was developing many buildings at once, it could centralize heating and cooling functions in one location for efficiency … the system is expected to reduce energy consumption by more than 50% when compared to a typical utility plant.”

Partner with Celsius Energy

Are you looking to improve your building’s carbon footprint and save energy with a tried and true solution? Get a tailor-made solution from Celsius Energy for every building. With us, you can have customized heating and cooling using as little land as the size of a parking space or with as much power as needed for an entire campus. We offer solutions to buildings globally.

We at Celsius Energy help meet ESG goals through our proven carbon-reducing services. Our ground source heat pumps can reduce CO2 emissions from buildings by up to 90% with a system that reduces building energy consumption by up to 70%.

Do you want to learn more? Connect with our team, and we can get started on a ground source heat pump solution for you and your business today.

Get started today with the Celsius Energy solution