Smith College in Massachusetts undertakes USD-210m geothermal project

Smith College in Massachusetts. Photograph by Jeff Baker.

May 3 (Renewables Now) - Smith College, the private women's liberal arts college in Northampton, Massachusetts, is getting ready to begin work on a USD-210-million (EUR 195m) geothermal energy project on its campus this month.

The new geothermal heat-exchange system powered by renewables will replace the college's aging, fossil-fuel-fired steam heating system. Design and construction are being undertaken in partnership with Salas O'Brien and BOND Building.

The project, which will be implemented in three phases over the next six years, is expected to reduce the college's carbon emissions by 90% on the path to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. In addition, it will make Smith one of few US schools to reach net-zero carbon emissions through the near elimination of on-campus fossil fuel combustion rather than through carbon offsets or biofuel conversion, according to the announcement.

The cost of the project is planned to be covered largely through proceeds from recent debt issuances.

The college first started using geothermal energy in 2019, when it undertook a pilot project to heat and cool its field house. Last year, it also began buying power from a solar park in Maine under the New England College Renewable Partnership.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.928)

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