US: Universities look for heat underground

In an effort to cut their carbon footprints, a handful of universities around America are turning to ground-source heat exchangers and geothermal heating - sometimes with the help of federal financing - writes Kate Galbraith for the The New York Times Green Inc blog.

Ball State University in Indiana expects to be able to eliminate a coal plant by adding heat pump capabilities. The system, which will take five to 10 years to finish, involves drilling holes 450 feet (137 metres) deep in several areas, using the earth's natural heat to run its heating and cooling more efficiently, according to a blog post by Robert Koester, a professor of architecture at the university.

Other schools turning to the technology include Hampton University in Virginia, Indiana Tech, and Montana Tech. The reason for the uptick in such projects? "Because there's a bunch of stimulus money getting thrown that way," said John Gardner, a professor at Boise State University's College of Engineering.
Full report on The New York Times site