Work began in August on a project to heat and cool the sanctuary very efficiently using a ground source heat pump (geothermal) system. As the schematic drawing indicates, a system of 12 wells each 600 feet deep will take advantage of the nearly constant temperature underground. This type of heat exchange underground is much more efficient than air exchange in a conventional system.
You’re probably wondering what’s going on since the Ellsworth lawn has been torn up for some time, and nothing much has changed in the past couple weeks. Here’s the story:
A test well was drilled in mid-August to verify that the ground near the church is suitable for a geothermal system. The factor of most importance is thermal conductivity, but the testers also look for gas pockets and high water levels. It is very unlikely that there will be a problem, but due diligence mandates this testing.
The testing process takes quite a bit of time. First, because drilling the test well disturbs the ground, it’s necessary to wait several days to let things return to equilibrium. Then the testers come in and circulate water through the single well system in a way similar to how the completed system will function. They conduct a series of test runs and collect data that is sent to a specialized lab for analysis. There is about a ten-day turnaround time between submitting the test data and receiving the analysis results.
We expect to receive the test report early this week, and to resume work in earnest within a few days after that. The other eleven wells will then be drilled over the next few weeks.
As work continues we will keep you informed of project status and plans.