Geothermal Campus Conversion
Salas O’Brien’s work with Miami University over the last decade has contributed to dramatic reductions in energy use, cost, and carbon footprint, cutting campus-wide energy use by 39 percent and carbon emissions by 45 percent, all while Miami increased campus square footage by 25 percent.
The west campus geothermal plant, completed in two phases, includes a 700 bore vertical and a 133-loop pond-based heat exchanger. Conversion of the south campus chiller plant included installation of a 1.6 million-gallon thermal energy storage tank. We converted over half the campus square footage to electric-based heating and cooling, and our north campus feasibility study is leading to conversation of the north plant to geothermal and installation of vertical heat exchangers in 2026, completing the elimination of steam from the campus. Providing 2,350 tons of cooling and 26mmBTU/HR heating, the west campus geothermal system has an annual COP of 5.0. As an outcome of Salas O’Brien’s work, Miami’s campus-wide EUI is 87.87 kBtu/GSF, representing a 48 percent decrease.