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What It Is: Geothermal In Action

Louisiana Electric Cooperative

Alan Watts, AWEB Supply Company, Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

"I am Alan Watts of Alan Watts Service, Inc. out of Baton Rouge. We have been installing these ground source systems for approximately ten years.

"This particular project with Louisiana Electric Cooperative was rather unique in a way. We had a certain amount of space to work with. We had to come in and take the lights out. And we had to try to get their loop system located in this one small area without disturbing any of the existing trees or getting in the way of the lighting systems.

"We put in twenty-eight 300 foot shafts or bore holes, which have one-inch polybutylene pipe in them. They tie into a single circulating pump. Now that the job has been completed, the ground has been returned to its original condition.

"This being a retrofit, the owners were very sensitive about the appearance of the building. We needed to get the pipes over into the equipment room. So we built a metal channel matching the gutter system to bring them up into the attic section of the building and on across into the equipment room.

We were able to come in, do the work, and put everything back as it was without disturbing any of his foliage or trees or anything else. We put all the lighting systems back where they were originally.

"Our equipment room is different now that we have installed the new equipment. We took out two old large air-handling systems, which were real dinosaurs, extremely noisy and very, very inefficient.

Now we have a total of nine separate units. Each unit has its own zone in the building, and each section of the building has its own thermostat.

Now, if you have one area you want a little cooler than another, we can do so. Having their own individual controls makes the people in the building a little happier. They are able to operate the total system.

As far as maintenance on the system compared to the old system, we keep the filters clean and that is about the extent of the maintenance on the total system. It is a very, very low maintenance type system and very energy efficient. All of our piping is polybutylene and any metal fittings are all brass. It makes for a long-life system."

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