Smith College


District Energy Master Plan Phased Implementation


Master Planning


Northampton, Massachusetts




2.6 million square feet

The Geothermal Future of a Historic Campus

Long committed to sustainability as an implicit part of global citizenship, Smith College engaged our team to develop a campus energy master plan for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The plan centers on conversion from steam to low-temperature hot water distribution, supported by a large ground-source vertical heat exchanger and an innovative wastewater heat recovery system.

By identifying suitable existing surface sites for the borefield location and phasing the buildout of the hot water distribution and by-building conversions, the plan avoids physical disruption to a concentrated landmark campus of 19th-century buildings, botanic garden, and arboretum landscape.

Having already taken readily available measures to lower GHG emissions, Smith sought long-term solutions through next-generation energy delivery. The campus energy plan addresses such key variables as:

  • Condition and age of the current systems
  • Capital, operating, and life cycle costs, including deferred maintenance
  • Energy conservation potential, predicted fuel costs, and real-time electric purchasing
  • Renewable energy and emerging electrical generation technologies
  • Future campus expansion and building renovations
  • Government regulations, potential future carbon regulation, and the social cost of carbon