FARGO – City leaders here may seek to save some green by going green.

Fargo City Hall Building Committee members will recommend that the City Commission approve a plan to install a geothermal heat pump underneath the new city hall, they decided in a meeting Friday.

Geothermal heat would have saved the city $18,100 in utility costs if it had been used this year and could represent a 35 percent reduction in energy use at the facility, said engineer Brent Wavra of Obermiller Nelson Engineering.

“Passing up that opportunity, it’s hard to let it go,” Wavra said.

The project would install 280 wells, bored 200 feet deep under the public plaza planned for the new city hall space.

The geothermal technology collects the heat energy that’s rejected during summer, storing it for use during winter, Wavra said.

The project’s premium cost is $850,000 and would be completed in two stages, Wavra said.

City commissioner Melissa Sobolik, who’s also on the building committee, said while city leaders haven’t taken an official pro-environmentalism stance, the geothermal pump project is a step in the right direction.

“I think it comes down to what do we want [for] our philosophy as a city,” she said. “I think it sends a great message that we are green – we want it to be a long-standing building.”

New buildings are increasingly being built with energy efficiency in mind. Wavra said all new federal projects for 2015 come with a mandate to reduce energy demands by 30 percent.

One of the biggest examples of a geothermal system can be found at the Veterans’ Affairs Campus in St. Cloud, which has 3,000 wells.

North Dakota State University’s Barry Hall and University of North Dakota’s Gorecki Alumni Center also feature geothermal systems.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts