Education Redefined: Geothermal Project

Education Redefined: Geothermal Project

By: Lee Boyland As a proud graduate of Ball State University, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some innovative, economic cost saving and continuing educational news about my alma mater …  As with all educational institutions, companies, and corporations, they all have key priorities and objectives … and Ball State University is certainly no exception to this norm.  In fact, the following two very important topics of interest have become top priority goals at Ball State University: 1.       Immersive learning 2.      Commitment to sustainability The university is currently in the process of completing a project that brings these two concepts together. You may or may not be aware that Ball State is installing the largest ground-source heating and cooling, or geothermal system in the United States. The announcement of this initiative was made in May 2009, and Phase 1 of two phases is now complete; with many buildings on campus already being heated and cooled by geothermal energy. When Phase 2 is completed in the near future, all of Ball State’s coal-fired boilers will be shut down and all buildings will be run off of geothermal energy. If you are curious about what this change really means number-wise (like me), here are some statistics (information gathered from Ball State’s website):           2,300 jobs have been added with the installation of the geothermal system           Before the project began, coal usage was costing the university $10 million per year           85,000 tons of carbon output per year before the project began           $2 million in energy costs will be saved annually           BSU’s carbon footprint will be cut IN HALF once the project is completed With regard to the immersive learning part of this project, when the project is complete, an entire building will be devoted to learning, open to students and the public. In addition, and as a supplemental benefit of this geothermal project, classes on campus are already using the project as course subject matter. What an impactful way to educate—and on a sustainable topic at that! Way to go, BSU!!! Photo courtesy of Ball State University  

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