Boise Mayor David Bieter along with Boise State President Bob Kustra and officials from US Congressman Mike Simpson and US Senator Mike Crapo’s offices took part in a ceremony to “turn on” the system Friday morning, November 16 in front of the Micron Business and Economics Building. The geothermal water is piped across the river underneath the Capitol Street Bridge and is used in nine buildings on campus.
A majority of the funding for the project came from federal appropriations won through the efforts of Senator Crapo and Congressman Simpson. Funds from both Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development were used in the project.
"Powering our campus with geothermal energy reflects the university's commitment to innovative solutions, environmental stewardship and economic judiciousness," said Boise State President Bob Kustra. "We are excited to be part of the expanded service network across the Boise River. The presence of geothermal will reduce our energy costs as well as provide hands-on research opportunities for our students and faculty in clean energy development."
Approximately 600,000 square feet of building space on the Boise State campus are now heated by geothermal energy. The Administration Building, the Student Union Building and the Environmental Research Building, along with the Morrison Center, the Multipurpose Class Room, the Interactive Learning Center, the Math and Geosciences Building and the Micron Business and Economics Building are all connected to the system.
The City of Boise has operated a geothermal district heating system since 1983. Natural geothermal water around 170 degrees is pumped from the ground near St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, distributed through the downtown area and re-injected into the geothermal aquifer near Julia Davis Park. The system now serves 81 buildings, heating approximately 3.8 million square feet of building space. Several buildings benefiting from this low-cost, environmentally-friendly heating source are publicly owned, including the Federal Courthouse, City Hall, Boise High School and the Ada County Courthouse. In the course of a year, the system circulates more than 190 million gallons of water through approximately 13 miles of pipeline.
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