Drilling for Heat at New York's General Theological Seminary


One of the loveliest spots in New York is the courtyard of the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, surrounded by a fabulous collection of 19th century buildings. (it is also a great place to stay in New York at a reasonable price, although they are demolishing that wing on 9th for a new library and condo) Those buildings cost a lot to heat, so the GTS has been spending a lot of money to upgrade. It is hard to make the buildings a lot more energy efficient and retain their character, so the best approach is to make the heating and cooling systems better. They are installing a massive ground source heat pump system to dramatically reduce their footprint and operating costs.


The school's dean, Ward Ewing, at the spot where geothermal wells will be drilled. Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

According to Stacy Stowe of the New York Times;

"When we're able to disconnect our two boilers that run off gas and oil, we're able to eliminate 1,400 tons of carbon emissions" in a year, said Dennis Frawley, project manager for redevelopment of the campus.

The 10-inch-diameter wells are being drilled 1,500 feet through schist bedrock to water that is 50 to 60 degrees year-round.

Using a geothermal heat pump, heat is extracted from the earth in winter through a matrix of wells and buried pipes. In summer, the process is reversed, with heat from indoors released back into the ground through the pumps and wells where it is cooled and pumped back into the building, Mr. Frawley explained.

The master plan for the seminary is "green." The idea is to install geothermal wells for all 19 buildings.

"There's no other way to go; it was the right thing to do for the earth," said Dean Ewing..."The economic payoff in energy savings won't come for more than a decade, but it's worth it." ::New York Times

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