Taubman Center to benefit from additional geothermal wells
Friday, November 13th, 2009
The addition of 33 geothermal wells sunk 300 feet through five geological layers under the campus quad should result in a more effective heating and cooling system for the A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center.
That’s the expectation of Architecture and Design Associate Dean Joseph Veryser who has overseen the project in his role as campus architect.
The additional wells should fulfill the promise of the original geothermal system that pumps water deep into the ground so that it can be warmed during the winter and cooled during the summer. A system of polyethylene tubing, pumps, and fans connected to the wells utilizes water to heat and cool the Taubman Center, which has no boiler, furnace, or even a gas meter.
Veryser explained that the original 88 wells were placed too close together in grid cells of 12 by 17 feet. The result was that the field became “baked” during summer hot spells. The 33 new wells are placed in grid cells of 25 by 25 feet, tied together and linked to the original system.
“This project will expand the capacity of the existing system and spread the geothermal footprint over a wider area, resulting in a more enhanced and effective heating and cooling system,” Veryser said, noting that new state-of-the-art, newly patented, split tube well design has been used.
The University should not incur any additional expense, according to Veryser.
“Now they have to restore the site to its original condition. If the weather continues to hold, all the work should be complete by Dec. 1,” Veryser said. “It has been a very messy and slow job, but the worst is over.”