Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.76
Liaison Mark Youndt
Submission Date March 10, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Levi Rogers
Director of Sustainability Programs and Assessment
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
District Geothermal Energy Systems

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Skidmore's geothermal energy systems have played a critical role in reducing the institution's greenhouse gas emissions and have served as a valuable resource for other colleges and universities. Over 20 stand-alone geothermal systems and two innovative district systems allow Skidmore to heat and cool about 40% of campus building space (over 703,000 square feet) with renewable energy.

Our innovative district approach is truly distinctive. Our first distributed district geothermal project, built in 2011, earned national recognition and positioned the College as a leader among higher education institutions in the United States. Building upon our success, the College built a second district system in 2014, and we are currently completing the construction of our third district geothermal system as part of a major renovation and construction project. Once the third system is fully engaged, the College will heat and cool well over 50% of total campus square footage with clean, renewable energy.

Skidmore’s distributed district geothermal systems are truly unique and have played a significant role in advancing geothermal technology. There are many advantages to distributed district geothermal systems, and Skidmore has proved that they can be applied to a variety of building types. Unlike stand-alone systems that draw heat energy from a bore field to heat and cool a single building, Skidmore’s distributed district systems use a centralized energy node to draw heat energy from a single bore field and distribute it to multiple buildings within the system.

Skidmore’s district systems have proved to be more efficient than alternative stand-alone designs. The approach minimizes the number of geothermal bores, circulation pumps, and other related infrastructure needed to adequately heat and cool building space, and these efficiencies save construction costs, reduce operational costs, and minimize operational GHG emissions over the life of the system.

The Arts Quad district system is an 84-bore geothermal field designed to heat and cool Zankel Music Theatre, Filene Hall, Saisselin Art Building, and the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater (178,300 square feet). Skidmore’s district design reduced the number of geothermal bores and total field loop size by 25% when compared to a stand-alone system.

Most notable is the system’s ability to exchange energy loads between buildings. Coined “thermal chat,” buildings within the Arts Quad communicate to distribute surplus loads between buildings rather than pulling energy from the bore field. The ability to exchange heat loads between buildings increases the efficiency of the system and extends the bore field’s energy potential.

Building on the success of the Arts Quad district geothermal field, Skidmore completed its second district system in 2014. The 64-bore geothermal system under Wiecking Green provides geothermal heating and cooling to The Tang Teaching Museum, Dance Center, and Wiecking Residence Hall (109,500 square feet). This district design reduced the number of required bores and loop field size by 35% when compared to a stand-alone approach. The Wiecking Green district system was designed with addition circuit piping to accommodate future heating and cooling conversions in neighboring buildings.

A 240-bore district system is currently under construction will meet the heating and cooling needs of a diverse set of buildings, including the Tisch Learning Center, Bolton Hall, Palamountain Hall, the Dana Science Center, and Skidmore's new Center for Integrated Sciences (an additional 310,500 square feet).

Equally compelling is the growing network of institutions and organizations that Skidmore has worked with since launching our geothermal efforts. We are proud of our institutional greenhouse gas emissions reductions and our ability to support and advance renewable energy technology, but we also deeply value the opportunity to share our story and develop relationships with other institutions. For years, Skidmore has opened its campus to those interested in learning more about the design and implementation of distributed geothermal energy systems. The College has presented to small groups on campus and at state, regional, and national conferences to share our experience, and we hope to continue sharing our story for years to come.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Air & Climate

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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