Geothermal Heating

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What is Geothermal?

Geothermal Aquifer

Geothermal (Geo = Earth, Thermal = Heat), is a form of energy obtained within the earth, originating from its core.  In Boise, this geothermal source of energy comes in the form of a natural aquifer in Boise's foothills.

How Does It Work?

The geothermal water is a natural resource that generates heat for buildings and homes in the downtown area of Boise.  Using the 20 miles of pipeline to pump the water, the city is also able to use it as a way to heat some sidewalks for snowmelt.  In order to keep the geothermal water an active energy source, the city takes the water from the Boise foothills and distributes it through an intricate system throughout downtown Boise. The water is then re-injected back into a supply aquifer near Julia Davis Park to create a self-sufficient system, heating homes and businesses all throughout downtown, without using any fossil fuels to produce it.

Geothermal in Boise

Why is it special?
  • Unparalleled - Boise has the largest municipally operated direct use geothermal energy system in the entire United States.
  • Local and Renewable - Sourced under our feet, the heat is continuously generated from the earth's core.
  • Clean - The energy is extracted without burning fossil fuels.
  • Attractive - Geothermal is an economic driver for new businesses seeking innovative and renewable energy solutions.
  • Versatile - Used for space heating, domestic water heating, pre-heating, and sidewalk snow melt.
  • Dependable - This energy is constantly being produced and is independent of other systems.
 Boise's Long History

Boise has been used geothermal heat since the 1890's to heat Victorian homes and the original Natatorium; back then, the cost to use the geothermal heat was just $2 a month for smaller homes and $3 a month for large homes.  In 1983, the City of Boise started the beginnings of the Geothermal Heat system that is now a part of the largest, municipally-operated system in the country, heating over 90 buildings throughout downtown Boise.

Where Can You Find It?

Beneath the streets of Boise are over 20 miles of pipeline that heat over 6 million square feet.  All over downtown, you'll find these plaques in buildings; including JUMP, City Hall, Treasure Valley YMCA, Boise State, and more. 

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Treasure Valley Downtown YMCA_1500x 1350  Boise State Admin _1500x 1350

Want to Learn More?

The Boise WaterShed hosts an exhibit focused on geothermal water.  Times and dates coming soon.
To learn more about geothermal energy opportunities for your business, email or call 208-608-7150.