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Center Is Sustainability Model
Bill Musser of Wohlsen Construction explains the geothermal pumping system
The new Klehr Center for Jewish Life is more than an attractive, useful and meaningful destination for F&M students.
It’s an example of the kind of eco-friendly efforts Franklin & Marshall College is committed to, said Larry Harder, associate vice president of facilities planning and capital projects.
“The building has employed sophisticated strategies to optimize energy use for this heavily used structure,” Harder said.
Here are some examples of the eco-friendly systems built into the Klehr Center:
- Paints that contain no petroleum products, to improve air quality;
- Natural light and occupancy sensors that reduce lighting loads;
- Low-e windows that reduce solar heat gain;
- Low-flow sinks and toilets that reduce water consumption; and
- Bio-base floor tiles made from recycled cornstalk fibers that are used in the kitchen.
More impressive is the way the building is heated and cooled.
The Klehr Center uses a geothermal heating system, which takes advantage of the relatively stable year-round temperatures below the ground.
It works like this: the system relies on six wells drilled 400 feet deep. Each well is capable of providing two tons of water for cooling. The wells are gathered in the basement of the building at a manifold, and the conditioned water is distributed to heat pumps for tempering air for distribution.
The system heats and cools the 6,500-square-foot building for a fraction of the cost of conventional systems and uses very little electricity, making it far more efficient than a conventional air source heat-pump system.
“This is the first time we’re using geothermal and we’ll continue to use it where it proves to be an environmental advantage,” Harder said.