In partnership with GEOptimize, a geotechnical engineering firm based in Manitoba, and Otter Tail Power Company, the electric utility providing power to campus, BSU explored the feasibility of transitioning the campus’ network of natural gas-based steam distribution to a ground source heat pump system, sometimes referred to as geothermal. Exploring the feasibility of ground source heat pump technology better prepares the University to adopt this form of renewable energy. With fewer than three decades to achieve carbon neutrality under the Climate Commitment, this represents an important step to a more sustainable future.
You are welcomed to read the BSU Geothermal Feasibility Report, which outlines a phased implementation approach by which campus may shift its heating and cooling systems in phases as opposed to a single project. Segmenting the project into discrete phases with associated costs helps reduce the challenge of securing a single sum of capital sufficient to complete the entire project. Enabling such a system will require continued energy efficiency improvements to lighting, HVAC systems, and our collective and individual behaviors surrounding how we use and conserve electricity.
The feasibility study was funded in part by the McKnight Foundation’s Midwest Climate & Energy Program, which seeks to foster and support climate and energy leadership in the Midwest and to make the region a model for the world by reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Funding support was also provided by Otter Tail Power Company in the form of cost-sharing incentives. This is another example of Otter Tail Power’s support of campus-wide energy efficiency efforts through its Conservation Improvement Program.