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Geothermal System Installed at Goddard's Building 25
System piping and pumps for routing ground water, chilled water, and hot water to provide heating and cooling for the HVAC system.› Larger image
System piping and pumps for routing ground water, chilled water, and hot water to provide heating and cooling for the HVAC system. Credit: NASA/D. McCallum
Water to water heat pump is the heart of the system.› Larger image
Water-to-water heat pump is the heart of the system. Ground water removes heat to create chilled water and supplies heat for the hot water system. Each module is capable of switching modes to provide chilled water or hot water based on the building heating and cooling needs. Credit: NASA/D.McCallum
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is pleased to announce the start-up of a new geothermal system for Building 25's Network Testing and Training Facility. The new system has been turned on, and will provide heating and cooling with a geothermal HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.

The newly installed system began initial operations on May 30, 2012 and will provide the building with up to 2.6 million BTUH of heating. The speed of the movement of heat is called the heat loss and is measured in BTUH, which means BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour. The system will also supply 280 tons (3.4 million Btuh) of cooling; approximately enough heating and cooling for 90 homes (based on 3 tons of cooling per home).

This renewable energy solution was installed to avoid the replacement costs of aging steam and chilled water lines and demonstrates the feasibility to retrofit a medium sized building with this technology with minimal disruption to the building occupants.

The newly installed geothermal system contains 100 wells drilled to a depth of 400 feet per well. The ground water is recirculated in a closed loop system through the well field and into the building's newly installed water to water heat transfer pump. The water to water heat transfer pump has eight modules capable of meeting both heating and cooling requirements automatically by assigning individual modules in either heating or cooling mode. The geothermal system installation cost was the same cost as the replacement of steam, condensate and chilled water lines that required replacement.

The cost avoidance is projected to be $34,138 annually, which is a 15 percent reduction from the current annual energy costs for Building 25. Additionally, the Central Plant will experience improved efficiency because it will no longer have to supply heating and cooling to Building 25, which was the furthest point from the plant.

The project started in May 2011 and is scheduled for completion in September 2012. The project is managed by NASA Goddard's Facilities Division.

Chip Wellington
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.