Nov 05, 2015

American Water Wins Award for Geothermal Innovation

The award was presented at the International Ground Source Heat Pump Assn.’s annual conference in Kansas City

American Water geothermal heating cooling the William L. Buck Elementary School

For its approach to transforming geothermal technology, American Water was recently honored with the Visionary Award at the International Ground Source Heat Pump Assn.’s (IGSHPA) annual conference in Kansas City. William Varley, senior vice president of American Water’s northeast division, and Commissioner Patricia Acampora of the New York Public Service Commission, accepted the award on behalf of their respective organizations.

The IGSHPA selected American Water for its “vision in recognizing the value of geothermal heat pump technology for customers and the foresight in using energy in the ground to provide space conditioning to facilities in [American Water’s] service territory.”

In a departure from traditional geothermal, which requires the drilling of hundreds of bore holes deep into the ground, American Water has initiated a geothermal pilot project that uses temperature from the water in its water main distribution system to heat and cool the William L. Buck Elementary School in Valley Stream, N.Y.

A food-grade heat exchanger located in a pump house on the school’s grounds transfers temperature from a closed water loop to a closed geothermal loop to provide heat through the building. In the summer, the heat exchanger transfers the building’s heat from the geothermal loop to the water loop to cool the classrooms.

In the pilot phase, the water passing through the heat exchanger is constantly being sampled to determine any change in quality and is diverted into a diffusion well. Once the pilot is complete and receives regulatory and health department approval, the water will be recirculated into the distribution system.