Colorado Capitol Goes Geothermal

by | Jul 23, 2013

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Colorado capitolThe Colorado State Capitol is a complete mess right now as the building gets new gold leaf on its dome and a new geothermal energy system.

Colorado will be the first state capitol in the country to have a geothermal system for heating and cooling. The only other state capitol using geothermal is Idaho’s building, which is heated from a hot springs.

The work in Denver is being performed via an energy performance contract with Chevron Energy Solutions. The company has drilled an 865-foot well under the state capitol to run a pipe into the Arapahoe aquifers below the building, tapping into the 65-degree waters.

The Department of Personnel & Administration, which is overseeing the project, says the geothermal units have been brought online and are now in the process of being commissioned and balanced. In addition to the upgraded functionality of air conditioning to the building, the project is replacing existing pumps and other equipment that date back to the 1940s and are well beyond their estimated useful life, avoiding about $904,000 in replacement costs.

The open-loop geothermal system is expected to save about $100,000 in heating and cooling costs in the first year, reports the Denver Post.

The US Department of Energy is providing a $4.1 million grant toward the overall $5.5 million project. The state is financing just under $1.5 million to complete the project.

Meanwhile, the capitol dome renovation project, which includes burnishing new gold leaf, will be complete late summer or early fall 2014.

The Colorado Capitol is the only state capitol to be LEED EBOM (Existing Building Operations and Maintenance) Certified by the US Green Building Council. It achieved that status in 2008.

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