Brightcore Energy Begins Construction of Geothermal Project at Bard College

Students play soccer in front of Bard College's Charles P. Stevenson Jr Library

(Credit: Bard College)

by | Feb 29, 2024

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Brightcore Energy has commenced construction of its geothermal heating and cooling project at Bard College in New York, replacing the school’s fossil fuel-fired system currently used at the school’s library.

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York’s Bard College has reportedly adopted geothermal energy for nearly 38% of its campus buildings on its way toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. The Charles P. Stevenson Jr Library project, however, represents a unique challenge as it contains over 50- to 100-year-old infrastructure.

“Bard College has been an early adopter of geothermal, with some systems on campus dating to the late 1980’s,” said Dan Smith, energy manager and special projects coordinator at Bard College. “The Library Project will be our first effort to transform an existing building, with an oil-fire boiler plant and conventional chiller system, to a ground-source heat exchanger and heat pump plant.”

Brightcore is providing s range of services such as feasibility and design, drilling and ground loop installation, and ongoing system performance monitoring after installation is complete for the Bard College project.

According to Brightcore, geothermal energy is the most efficient HVAC solution with the lowest emissions footprint. It completely eliminates the use of fossil fuels in heating and cooling and is reportedly three to four times more efficient than gas-fired systems in cold climates. Geothermal systems may also lower operating costs by 30% to 40% and maintenance costs by 75%.

Universities Increasingly Adopt Sustainability Initiatives to Reduce Environmental Impact

Like many parties taking on clean energy projects across the United States, many universities have benefitted from the Inflation Reduction Act and have taken on ambitious sustainability initiatives.

For example, Arizona State University has undergone 90 solar installations used to power the school across four campuses and has achieved carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions. The University of Georgia has also invested in building energy efficiency, contributing to a 22% per square foot reduction in energy use intensity. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership has also identified 30 colleges and universities that have particularly excelled in their commitment to clean energy, with the University of California and the University of Iowa currently topping the list.

University athletic departments, recognizing the environmental impact of sports events, have also increasingly implemented sustainability plans. For example, last year, Texas A&M released a roadmap to achieve zero waste, decrease energy use, and bolster sustainability-focused education and outreach programs.

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