We’ve always needed energy to heat our homes. For the vast majority of human existence, we’ve gotten that energy from natural materials—first firewood, then slower-burning natural oil, then fossil fuels. But while we were gathering materials to consume, we were also busy discovering perhaps the most obvious source of heat apart from the sun—the earth itself.
According to Energy.gov, humans first discovered geothermal energy some 10,000 years ago when Native Americans heated themselves in naturally-occurring hot springs. Ever since, we’ve been trying to figure out how best to utilize the earth’s warmth. We’ve built towns on hot springs, heated homes with piped-in hot water, and even built power plants that run on steam. But even with all that progress, we as Americans have struggled to implement an energy-efficient geothermal system in a cost-effective way on a large scale.
Enter Ball State
It gets cold in Indiana. Heating an entire college campus is expensive, and burning fossil fuels to do so is hardly energy efficient. Luckily, Ball State University, located in Muncie, Indiana, has launched an ambitious project that, if all goes right, will reduce campus carbon footprint by nearly one half. Engineers at Ball State have bored hundreds of holes into the ground around campus to access the heat of the earth. They can now turn that heat into a sustainable source of energy.
It’s an amazing process, and it’s called a geothermal energy system. The earth’s energy warms water, which travels through pipes that snake throughout the campus, alternatively warming or cooling—whichever is necessary—any given indoor area. The investment, like most energy-saving ventures, is a true win-win-win. The campus will save money, create a culture of environmental sustainability, and create thousands of contracting jobs while they’re at it. How cool is that?
Energy-Efficient Retail Options
So good for Ball State. A college campus has the resources to implement a dynamic change like redoing its entire heating system. But how does that affect you?
“Dandelion is making geothermal heating and cooling affordable by introducing a number of process and technology innovations, including analytics-based marketing, fixed system pricing, a low monthly payment option, and an innovative drilling method,” Green Builder Media writes.
So what are you waiting for? Geothermal energy is the wave of the . . . present. Harness it, and invest in your future!