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What It Is: Geothermal In Action

Stockton College - New Jersey

Stockton College, with an enrollment of over 5,600 full and part-time students, is an undergraduate college of arts, sciences and professional studies within the New Jersey system of higher education. Stockton is located on a 1,586 acre campus in the forested pine lands of southern New Jersey.

The college's 2.5-square-mile campus includes two hospitals - the 250-bed Atlantic City Medical Center Mainland Division and the 80-bed Betty Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital.

Nearly 2,000 students reside year round in Stockton's 16 dormitory buildings and 256 garden apartments.

Replacement of Stockton's HVAC system was necessary because the college's originally installed equipment has approached and in many cases exceeded the end of its useful life. Replacement parts for the college's existing gas-fired DX multi-zone units are scarce, costly and difficult to obtain. Maintenance is expensive and time consuming. The systems installed when energy supplies were abundant and costs low, are now inefficient to operate.

Fortunately, Stockton found a solution to meet its HVAC infrastructure requirements. A public and private sector partnership between the college, Atlantic Electric, and the New Jersey Departments of Environmental Protection and Energy and Higher Education that have pooled funds totaling more than $5,000,000 to install what is perhaps the nation's largest ground-coupled water source heat pump system.

CNN Science Report: Stockton College

Conversion to the new geothermal heating, ventilating and air conditioning system occurred in two phases. First, 62 original HVAC roof-top units were removed and subsequently replaced with new high-efficiency geothermal heat pumps.

Second, the Trane units were connected to the closed-loop piping and pumping system. Replacement activities initiated at K-Wing and progressed northward through the academic complex to A-Wing in a 2-day period over the weekend following the end of the fall semester.

A repetitive operational sequence was followed. First an original HVAC unit, which ranged in weight from 7,500 to 9,500 pounds, was shackled to a 125-foot tether and removed from its roof top location by helicopter. The removed unit was transported to a designated loading and drop-off zone adjacent to the college's track.

By using a repetitive sequencing procedure, the average per-unit completion time for removal and installation by helicopter was held to just under 10 minutes. This enabled the college's general contractor to accomplish safely this phase without disrupting the operation of the college.

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