AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A new geothermal well is being drilled on Haigis Mall at UMass Amherst, this is part of a bigger program within the University and will help the school reach their energy goals.
To provide eco-friendly heating and cooling, UMass is looking towards thermal energy. UMass plans to be carbon zero by 2032 and the school is building 800 foot holes beneath the campus to help achieve that goal. The school has already built three geothermal wells across campus and are currently working on two others.
Ted Mendoza, the Capital Project Manager in the Design and construction Department at UMass told 22News, “The purpose is to access the deep bedrock beneath us in order to use it as a thermal energy storage device.”
Instead of the standard practice, which is expelling unused energy into the air, the school plans to store that excess energy 800 feet underground and as more wells are built, more data is collected. UMass plans on continuing this project as they see a real path towards a carbon zero future.
“To be able to use the data to kind of help along the conversation, right, because the solutions to climate change aren’t straightforward and simple and it’s also one of those things that are unique to different campuses and different parts of not just our state but the world,” said Mendoza.
UMass is solely responsible for nearly 20 percent of overall greenhouse gas emissions among Massachusetts public facilities and so the University is looking at its own success in energy transition as a success for the Commonwealth.
Mendoza told 22News that once these wells are completely done being drilled, the land is restored back to normal as if you’d never know what’s beneath you.