The city of Rochester, Minn., is a shining example of a cohesive community pushing for positive change and acting on it. It has shown a growing commitment to green energy and sustainability initiatives alongside its notable history of housing the world-class medical institution, the Mayo Clinic. All this is to say that Rochester is no stranger to progressive, bold and community-centered headway.
Community is the heartbeat of our cities, playing a crucial role in shaping their vibrancy, resilience and overall well-being. Communities foster social connections among diverse groups of people. They provide platforms for interaction, cooperation and support among residents. Additionally, communities often drive sustainability initiatives, encouraging eco-friendly practices and advocating for a healthier environment.
Rochester has boasted of its proactive nature with actions more than words, aiming to achieve the impressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 100 percent over the next three decades. One of the major factors in reaching its destination is implementing geothermal energy throughout the city via thermal energy networks.
In a city with such a prominent sense of community, it only makes sense to use a form of sustainable energy centered on networks and connecting multiple systems to one energy source. The very basis of TENs is to centralize these networks and reduce overall energy consumption and emissions.
Standard air-source air-conditioning units pull the heat from a home or business and expel it, wasting heat and contributing to emissions. Geothermal systems capture and use the heat being rejected from buildings and the heat stored underground, where temperatures are more stable.
Joe Dammel, the managing director for buildings for the nonprofit advocacy group Fresh Energy, explains: “You use the heat that’s stored there to heat a building, so you pull heat from the ground and put it into buildings. In cooling mode, you pull heat from buildings and return it to the ground for storage.” It’s as simple as that!
This efficiency increases when a series of buildings are linked; the load is shared rather than each building relying on itself to harness and use the heat needed to function. Instead, there’s the option to build a community through a network and assist one another as needed.
For many cities, this option looks fantastic on paper, but the cost can be jarring enough to elicit some hesitation. That’s where the Inflation Reduction Act comes in to save the day, a way to offer incentives such as additional funding and tax credits. With the help of the IRA and the benefits contained therein, projects like Rochester’s are becoming more popular.
In so many ways, Rochester is the brave leader in this effort to bring geothermal energy into the discussion when sustainable, green energy needs to be brought up.
It’s important to note that geothermal isn’t as well-known as many other renewable energy sources; under-discussed and misunderstood, it tends to fly under the radar and be overshadowed by talk of solar panels, recycling, wind power and using electricity instead of gas. Those are all excellent solutions that contribute massively, but geothermal is doing incredible things and reducing emissions, as well as improving the quality of life for those who can have it in their homes and community buildings.
The example set by Rochester is a huge benefit to the cause; the goal to reduce carbon emissions by 100 percent is bold. People wonder how that could be possible; geothermal and TENs are part of the answer. The efforts of one incredible and progressive city can impact others to listen and learn, implement and build their own TENs.
Thermal Energy Network Symposium
If this all sounds too good to be true to some of you, then don’t take our word for it; come and see.
Geothermal Rising is a nonprofit organization and a staple in the geothermal industry as the oldest geothermal association in the world, so it comes as no surprise that it is in complete support and awe of the happenings in Rochester. This endorsement is made clear by the announcement of the Spring Geothermal Rising Conference, taking place in Rochester. Known as the Thermal Energy Network Symposium, this event will be one you don’t want to miss!
Community is the foundation. Whether we are coming together to speak up for what we want, to protest what we don’t or to celebrate what we have, the network we have created as a community is impressive. Let’s give our homes and buildings a network to rely on, a way to share and support, and become a part of the community working tirelessly to save the world we love.
Rochester is part of a larger network, an industry of dedicated heroes who are making a difference, and this is only the first step. Come join us in March and enjoy the celebration of progress and the start of a bold, grand effort to inspire change.
Register at https://bit.ly/3RDe16P and join us for a spectacular event!