Today: Apr 17, 2024

Franklin Field: Powered by Earth’s Energy, Day and Night.

3 months ago

TLDR:

  • City officials and National Grid are collaborating on a pilot program to introduce geothermal heating and cooling technology to the Franklin Field Apartments in Boston.
  • The geothermal system will utilize the Earth’s ground temperature to regulate heating and cooling in 129 units at the public housing development.

City, state, and federal officials gathered at the Franklin Field Apartments to announce the pilot program for Boston’s first networked geothermal heating and cooling operation. The project is a collaboration between the city and National Grid aimed at harnessing the Earth’s ground temperature to provide heating and cooling to the units at the public housing development. The initiative aligns with Boston’s commitment to go fossil-free by 2030. The geothermal system will work by circulating water through a buried piping network to transfer heat between the ground and the buildings, while ground source heat pumps in each building will deliver warm or cool air. Geothermal energy systems are uncommon in Massachusetts, making Franklin Field one of the first sites in the state to embrace this clean energy technology. The geothermal project is seen as a paradigm shift in which climate activists and utility companies can collaborate to create green infrastructure.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu expressed the importance of leading by example and providing better, cleaner, and more affordable housing for all residents. Franklin Field’s existing conditions, such as drafty windows and poor ventilation, can cause discomfort and health issues for residents. The geothermal system aims to address these issues, providing a more comfortable living environment while reducing carbon emissions.

According to National Grid, geothermal energy uses large boreholes dug into the ground to provide heating and cooling to buildings. The geothermal system at Franklin Field will replace an aging gas boiler loop currently serving 129 units and will involve retrofitting the buildings, electrical upgrades, and appliance and heating equipment replacements. The project is expected to begin design in early 2024 and construction activities are scheduled for 2025.

This innovative pilot program at Franklin Field could serve as a roadmap for implementing geothermal systems in other buildings and campuses across the city and the country. The collaboration between the Boston Housing Authority and National Grid aims to demonstrate the possibilities of utilizing geothermal energy for heating and cooling in various types of buildings, not just public housing.