New wells to regulate dorm temperatures

Two geothermal wells were drilled on campus over Winter Break, one on Southside and one on Northside. The Southside well, in parking lot BB, is a 400-foot deep test borehole drilled to determine the geothermal conductivity of that section of ground. The area on the Northside of campus has already been approved for development of a new dorm, which the well will heat and cool.

Peter Smith, a hydrologist from Santec Consulting in Rochester, tested the well early Wednesday morning. Smith pumped water into the well in tubes and will record its change in temperature over a 24 to 48 hour period. That data will be analyzed to extract specific values. This well will determine how many would be needed to regulate the temperature of any new building(s) at Geneseo.

Geothermal conductivity is a measurement of how well temperature circulates in an area. A geothermal well regulates heating and cooling, and can operate on one to three buildings. Water is pumped through tubes in the ground and acclimates to the underground temperature as it travels, and is pumped back to the surface where it is used for cooling and heating. At a couple hundred feet, the earth-surface temperature around Geneseo is about 12 degrees Celsius, which, according to Smith, would create a sort of baseline temperature for the buildings. The water would then need to be heated up to 20 degrees Celsius for a comfortable temperature.

If Smith finds geothermal conductivity to be sufficient on Southside, the well will be designated for the Saratoga Terrace Townhouses.