Comprehension of the full range of renewable energy choices is crucial with the increasing need to reduce carbon emissions from communities and facilities. One alternative that is often ignored is geothermal energy from the ground source. A new screening tool, designed to test this technology for all New York City properties, provides a free resource that can be adapted by other cities and counties to their own geology, land area and energy sources. It is a device that can also shed light on the executives of the company.
Geothermal ground source energy is different from other geothermal energy because it is not produced from a hot spring or another natural geyser. Rather, it uses the earth as a reservoir, usually with temperatures between 50 ° F and 60 ° F, as a relatively stable storage medium for a heat pump device to either recover or store energy as a heating and cooling source. According to the Technology Collaboration Program for Heat Pumping Technologies1 of the International Energy Agency, North America is the key market for geothermal heat pumps due to increased demand for renewable energy sources. Sweden, France, Switzerland, and Germany are stable economies in Europe.
New York City’s Geothermal Ground Source Screening Tool document was developed by consulting engineering firm Goldman Copeland, of which I am Chairman, for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the Department of Design and Construction. The resource is available online2 and the American Council of New York Engineering Companies recently awarded it.
Certain jurisdictions may adapt the tool— to assess the value of their own land source— using applicable topographical data normally accessible through the United States. Maps for the geological survey. The data needs a local geologist and an accomplished geothermal engineer to evaluate, but by following the New York City model approach, the process can be simplified. The method in New York City allows users to clearly determine the viability of ground source heating and cooling for each lot in all five city districts— nearly 900,000 lots. The method is particularly useful in evaluating the ability of new building systems to maximize the available capacity of the ground source.