With funding from the US Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Boise State University has connected to the city of Boise’s geothermal heating system. Nine BSU campus buildings are now heated by geothermal energy, representing about 600,000 square feet, according to NWCN.com. At a media event last week to commemorate the new geothermal heating, warm water was piped into a fountain on campus with steam rising in the cool air, said a spokeswoman from the university.
Hot water of about 170 degrees is pumped from underground and piped from the city to the BSU campus across the Boise River. The city has operated its geothermal system since 1983, serving 81 buildings. The system circulates more than 220 million gallons of water through approximately 13 miles of pipeline.
New buildings heated by the extended system include: the BSU Administration Building, Student Union Building, Environmental Research Building, Morrison Center, Multipurpose Class Room, Interactive Learning Center, the Math and Geosciences Building, and the Micron Business and Economics Building.
The project was completed through a partnership between city, state, and campus officials. The presence of geothermal will reduce the campus’ energy costs and provide hands-on research opportunities for students and faculty in clean energy development.
The pipeline is being further extended down University Drive next summer, and the final phase of the project will be completed in 2015 when the pipeline is brought over the Broadway Bridge and connected to the pipeline on University.