The pump will cut the University’s carbon footprint roughly in half, the school says. It will also eradicate almost all of its $3 million annual fuel bill, but will cost about $1 million a year in electricity to run, reports the New York Times.
Ground source heat pumps – also called geothermal heat pumps – work by running water through pipes below the frost line, which is about six feet underground in Ball State’s locale. This water sits at the soil’s constant 55 degree temperature, meaning that it can be used for heating in winter and cooling during summertime.
The Ball State project broke ground in May 2009 and, when finished, will have cost $75 million to $80 million, the Times reports.
A recently opened IKEA store near Denver, Colo., uses a ground source heat pump. The pump was installed at the Centennial, Colo., store in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL is based in Denver suburb of Golden, Colo.