Cambridge School a Leader in Geothermal Technology. An exciting and innovative research project in geothermal technology is underway in Dorchester County, Maryland. The Board of Education has approved the construction of a geothermal heating and cooling system for its new Cambridge Elementary School to be opened for the 1997 school year. Cambridge Elementary will test the "closed loop" geothermal system where water is pumped continuously using the ground for cooling and heating. It also will test a new thermally enhanced grout compound to improve heat transfer for some of the system's 100 wells which are constructed at depths of 250 to 275 feet. Cambridge Elementary is one of only two schools in the country to use the grout. Proposed by Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, Inc., it will be part of a research project monitored by the University of South Dakota. Extensive monitoring equipment will be installed to test the well's performance. Also, the number of wells will allow for the future expansion of the school when needed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found the geothermal systems to be an average of 48% more efficient than the best gas furnaces on a source fuel basis, and more than 75% more efficient than oil furnaces. The best geothermal systems outperform the best gas technology, gas heat pumps, by an average of 36% in heating and 43% in cooling. This technology is often lauded for its environmental cleanliness. The Cambridge project was funded through the Governor's Public School Construction Program and Delmarva Power and Light Company. Wedgco Engineering is the project engineering firm with technical assistance provided by the Maryland Energy Administration.
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Last updated: 04/22/97