University Celebrates Shut Down of Coal Plant, Transitions to Geothermal

Another university is shutting down its coal plant because it’s shifting to geothermal energy – West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

At this year’s "Sustainability Day," on October 22 (which is apparently observed at universities across the US), they celebrated the decommissioning of the university’s coal-fired power plant. Yea!

Geothermal heats, cools and provides hot water for 15 campus buildings, including apartments and residence halls, and the 10-year plan is to reach 25 buildings. Besides eliminating about 40 million pounds of annual emissions, the university will save $1 million a year on electric bills.

"We are committed to geothermal energy for both new  construction and renovation of existing buildings," says Greg Cuprak, Executive  Director of Facilities Management.

When the entire district system is completed, there will be 1200 wells – mostly under parking lots – and 20,000 feet of pipe that distribute clean energy throughout the campus. The goal is to shut down the central heating plant, which will eliminate all coal (7000 tons a year) and most fuel oil (200,000 gallons a year) burned on campus.

Geothermal West Chester University

Like so many universities today, this is just one element of West Chester’s Climate Action Plan. Sustainable practices are being implemented into every aspect of university life, including curriculum, purchasing and buildings. Green roofs are sprouting on rooftops
in addition to protecting land around campus.

Indiana’s Ball State University is converting from coal to the nation’s biggest geothermal system, and Missouri University of Science and Technology just announced the completion of its geothermal project, which will heat and cool 17 buildings on campus.

Read our article, Chevy Does It Right! Supports Clean Energy at Colleges, Retires Carbon Credits.

Learn about the sustainability efforts on campus:

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