GeoExchange Energy Efficiency Project

The geothermal heating cycle

Regional GeoExchange Energy Efficiency Project (RGEEP) is a community-scale project that aims to create a zero net energy business park. The business park is a premier demonstration opportunity for geothermal technology because of its size—one square mile of large office buildings and warehouses—and location adjacent to a water treatment plant. The development will feature a geoexchange heat pump system, which will use water provided by the wastewater treatment plant to offset building heating and cooling loads. Additional savings will be achieved through a combination of energy efficiency measures such as energy efficient lighting, and renewable energy sources, such as solar electricity production.

The heat pump system will cycle water from the Airport-Wikiup-Larkfield Treatment Plant through connected buildings in the Airport Business Center via a network of recycled water piping. The water will cool the buildings during the summer and heat them during the winter using geothermal exchange. Additionally, recycled water from the treatment plant will be used to irrigate landscapes in the Airport Business Center, offseting the use of potable water.

Local business partnerships have been an integral part of this project. The Sonoma County Water Agency hosts two to three annual meetings for commercial property owners to learn about project updates and exchange ideas.

In December 2008, SCWA took the first step to study this project's feasibility by drilling a test well at its administration building, also located in the Airport Business Park. The test well will provide information on the soil composition and capacity of the ground to act as an efficient geoexchange heat sink. SCWA looks forward to completing its feasibility study and developing similar projects in Sonoma Valley and Geyserville.

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