RS-14 An Appraisal for the Use of Geothermal Energy in State-Owned Buildings in Colorado


Appraisal, feasibility rankings, and evaluation of economic competitiveness of geothermal energy as a potential heating system in state-owned buildings in Colorado, compared to conventional heating systems. 65 pages. 4 figures. 15 tables. Digital PDF download. RS-14D

(Extra appendices for Alamosa, Buena Vista, Burlington, Durango, Glenwood Springs, and Steamboat Springs are provided in open-file report OF-81-03)

Synthesized from the abstract:

An appraisal of the use of geothermal energy for space heating requirements for selected state-owned buildings in six communities in Colorado is presented in this report for the Colorado Geological Survey. The appraisal addresses several components of a feasibility study for geothermal applications, including resource assessment, pipeline rights-of-way, well design and drilling program, conceptual engineering designs for retrofits of building heating systems, evaluations of economic feasibility, institutional requirements, and environmental considerations. Economic feasibility is determined from evaluation of four economic measures: simple payback period in years; twenty-year annualized system costs (geothermal system versus conventional system); total twenty-year undiscounted “energy” savings; and total twenty-year present value “energy” savings. The results of the analyses of each feasibility component are finally ranked, using a weighting system, to arrive at an order ranking of the eleven state-owned buildings for overall feasibility.

This appraisal of the prospective use of geothermal energy for hot water heating of eleven state-owned buildings at six locations in Colorado has shown that at least six of the facilities have a high to moderate feasibility for successful development and economic benefit. The best candidate by far is the Colorado State Reformatory at Buena Vista. Three facilities with essentially equal scores follow the Colorado State Reformatory in order of overall feasibility: Adams State College (with a central heat pump), the Buena Vista Highway Department Building, and the Glenwood Highway Department Buildings. Next in order of overall ranking are the Highway Department Buildings at Steamboat Springs, the National Guard Building at Durango, Adams State College with a central heat exchanger, and the Highway Department Buildings at Alamosa.