Jan 13, 2015
Hi Frank, Thanks so much for your proposal! This is well thought-out and I appreciate your work so far. I have a few questions that might help further develop/clarify your idea: 1. Who will benefit from these installations, public or privately-owned buildings? Are the pumps for private buildings to be located on public land (re: your suggestion of a report to identify potential locations in public/semi-public space)? 2. Is it possible to quantify the amount of heat release into the environment that would be saved by using geothermal systems? How many systems would need to be installed to have an UHI reduction effect in a particular neighborhood? 3. How much of an incentive for installation are you proposing? At what point does installation become cost-effective for the customer? Best, Hanaa
Jan 13, 2015
Hanaa, If you were at the venture cafe meeting on 1/8, I was the one asking about geothermal at that meeting. Building owners who take advantage of any incentives and perform an upgrade/installation would benefit from this. Building rentals or leasees would also benefit from reduced utility bills. The city should be open to easements in public land since they are underground and unobtrusive. As far as heat emissions - I'm no expert in geothermal systems but have an engineering degree. Air Conditioning, or air-to-air heat pumps extract heat from indoor living area and releases it outside. There is some inefficiency/loss in the system that is also released as outside heat. Most geothermal systems are indoors (i.e., no outside heat release) and the heat would be sequestered into the ground. If a building uses XX KWHr on air conditioning, then the majority of that energy is released as outside heat, plus whatever heat is extracted from indoor spaces. To understand the impact on a neighborhood requires an analysis of buildings in the area. If you have one building with air conditioners in almost every window... That's extremely inefficient compared to central AC (never mind GeoTherm). BTW: any outside cogeneration units in these UHI areas should be shut down in times of high-heat. That's a big source for external heat emissions. As far as incentives go. I am proposing two types. The first is bureaucratic: Have the city find the right locations in thee neighborhoods to install geothermal wells for potential clients, both public and private spaces. Go through Dig-safe, etc. This is a "If you design it they will come" approach that also demonstrates the city is taking heat reduction seriously. The point when it becomes cost-effective for the customer is when new the annual cost (utility and construction loans) are lower than the current utility costs. There is one other incentive that can be provided by the city; don't include the increased value of the heating system in the tax bill UNTIL the loan is paid off... maybe 10 -20 years? If you want to talk about this in more detail - my real name is Dave Doucette. Contact me via eMail at DPDoucette@me.com
Feb 5, 2015
Hi Dave: Are you able to put these great details into the proposal itself? It will make it much easier for our judges to review. Thank you! Jen
Feb 10, 2015
Jen, I was hoping that the City of Cambridge would be able to answer the cost of much of this, not including the actual cost of drilling wells, which can be quoted by different vendors. Actual drilling cost is between $20-40K, and varies based on equipment and setup. My point is the cost of bureaucracy in siting and getting permission to drill the wells That's a real question for City Hall. I assume Cambridge tracks the locations using this technology. I believe Harvard is using geothermal energy somewhere on its campus. My proposal is to build a cluster of wells within hot spots, and set up a pre-approval process for locations, first come, first serve.
Feb 18, 2015
Thank you for your proposal. Although it has merit, we feel that there was not enough connection to the local Cambridge community to proceed to the next round. We hope that you will submit another proposal next time!