Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Turn Up the Heat: Integrating Boise State University into Boise’s Geothermal System


The recent growth in the Treasure Valley has lead to a substantial increase in both residential and commercial construction. As a consequence, related heating and energy costs in the valley have also been rising. Concerns over global warming, along with the increases in fuel and energy costs, have sparked an interest in alternative energy sources. The Treasure Valley is unique in being naturally endowed with geothermal energy potential. Up until 2007, the city’s system was host to 58 customers heating almost 4 million square feet of space throughout downtown Boise. In 2007 the city of Boise completed its geothermal re-injection loop, which meant that an additional 50 million gallons of spent geothermal water will be recharging the aquifer system leading to the potential for more extensive use of geothermal technology. Our research will focus on the expansion of geothermal heating to Boise State University, a program for which federal funding was approved in 2007. Our analysis will include the initial construction, implementation and operation costs of geothermal pipes and furnaces necessary to expand the use of the resource. This analysis will draw on state energy programs, Idaho national laboratory studies, federal agency reports and studies to gather historical data and forecasts, as well as direct interviews with experienced professionals and users in the field. We believe that the study will provide further evidence of the potential for long term use of geothermal energy as an affordable heating alternative for our area.