The existing heating system, comprised of two gas-fired, low pressure steam boilers and cast iron radiators under each of the buildings windows was not only out-dated, but inefficient as well. The ground beneath the GEOLOFTS parking lot and landscape offers an inexhaustible supply of stored solar energy.
GEOLOFTS has worked hard to commission a geothermal system which will not only reduce existing energy consumption by a substantial percentage, but will also add air conditioning to the building. Furthermore, GEOLOFTS' geothermal system will provide hot water for the plumbing system through heat exchangers.
The geothermal system at the GeoLofts represents a breakthrough in urban geothermal applications and technology. The 400 ton geothermal system will provide 100% of the heating, cooling, and hot water requirements of the building, providing dramatic environmental and economic benefits. The closed-loop geothermal well field takes advantage of deep energy wells that improve the space and energy efficiency of the system. These deep (650') energy wells reduce the land area required by 50% over conventionally drilled systems. Inside the building, the geothermal energy exchange fluid is routed to each individual zone, providing climate control to each space and adding a further design efficiency through energy load diversity. The GeoLofts geothermal system demonstrates how geothermal heating and cooling technology can be applied to the large-scale urban environment, and will set a precedent for the City of Chicago and national green building movement in how to eliminate carbon emissions, save tens of thousands of dollars in energy costs, and provide superior comfort through geothermal-based clean energy systems.
Actual energy usage will be monitored to provide data for future installations. Located in dedicated mechanical rooms dispersed throughout the building, a series of heat pumps service each tenant space. The controls for all of the heat pumps in the building could be controlled through proprietary software from any internet-accessible location. Some temperature control will be granted to the tenant, while unoccupied spaces can be controlled to more closely reflect the outside ambient temperature. This level of control is unprecedented in any other commercial building of its size. This flexibility in temperature control would allow, simultaneously, the heat to be on in one unit, the windows to be open in another, and the temperature set low for something like wine storage in a third space. Best of all, the refrigerant used in the heat pump will be earth safe R-410A and will be confined to each individual unit in each individual mechanical room. Because heating and cooling happens through a physical process in which heat exchangers draw from, a constant stream of liquid circulating the building at the consistent 55 degree underground temperature of the Earth, the system will require very little energy to run. The only electricity required will be miniscule - just enough to operate two main pumps and the fan in each unit.
In addition, by replacing the leaky, old wood windows with modern double glazed, Low-E rated windows, the tightness and efficiency of the building envelope has been increased dramatically.