Sustainability: Geothermal Heat

geothermal mines

New Energy from Old Mines

Abandoned mine shafts beneath campus, long perceived as an unusable relic of an industrial past, have a new purpose in Marywood's quest for alternative energy sources.

Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., an engineering and construction services firm, recently repurposed abandoned coal mines underneath our campus into a source of geothermal energy for the Center for Architectural Studies. A highly efficient and environmentally friendly practice, using mine shafts as a source of geothermal energy can minimize or eliminate the need for fossilfired heating systems. At the same time, geothermal energy systems help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make use of local resources, don't pollute the environment, reduce operating costs, and don't require a lot of construction and development.

Ground-coupled geothermal systems use the constant temperature of the earth's crust to exchange energy for heating and cooling applications. Marywood's project uses flooded underground mine shafts for this purpose.

This new geothermal system, completed during the summer, serves a portion of the cooling needs of the Center for Architectural Studies. The system can be expanded and will be utilized in Phase II of the Center's construction, in an effort to continue our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.