West / Regional Reports

Geothermal Saves Energy For Postal Service

LINCOLN, NE — According to the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), the first geothermal system installed in the state of Nebraska was back in July of 1999, for the United States Parcel Service (USPS), Northview Carrier Annex, located here.

FEMP says the system demonstrates that geothermal hvac equipment can replace boiler and chiller applications in a facility without altering its interior design. Currently, the USPS, Kansas City Facilities Service Office, and the Lincoln Utility Company, is monitoring the Northview facility to track its energy savings. Energy usage is also being monitored at the Lincoln Cheney Ridge Carrier Annex, also located in Lincoln, NE. This facility was completed in 1998 and is equipped with a conventional hvac system.

FEMP reports that the maintenance savings of the Northview geothermal system is expected to be 64% less than the Cheney facility. Also, the life-cycle payback on investment for Northview is approximately five years. The cost of the geothermal system was more expensive than the traditional hvac system at Cheney, or approximately a difference of $90,000. So far, the Northview facility has had no problems with the geothermal system.

The first annual report on the monitoring project compared operating costs of both facilities on a dollar-per-square-foot basis. The report says that the Northview facility has had a cost savings of 24% or $0.17/sqft, compared to the Chaney facility that has had an operating cost of $0.71/sqft.

Publication date: 10/29/2001

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