With the high cost of heating and cooling, we would all like to save money on utilities. A university in Rogers County hopes to save millions by using technology to tap into a renewable source of thermal energy.
News on 6 anchor Craig Day says as students prepare for a week of spring break, the Rogers State University campus in Claremore is quiet. But there will be a lot of activity this spring.
The university is implementing an aggressive energy savings plan. RSUâ€™s president Dr. Joe Wiley says part of it includes drilling geothermal wells on campus. "One of the things we're trying to accomplish is how can we meet the needs for the future of the institution in a way that helps conserve energy and long term saves taxpayers of the state money."
As many as 200 wells will be drilled on campus; half on the east side, the other half on the west side. The wells go nearly 400 feet down into the earth's crust where it is hot.The natural energy will then be channeled to buildings on campus to power heating and cooling systems. "We're using what is already here. And the fact that it's not going to increase in price over the next 20 years.â€
RSU's new innovation center, opened last December, already uses geothermal energy. The cost of expanding geothermal wells will be several million dollars. Although the up front costs are expensive, Rogers State University is expected to save a lot of money using geothermal energy and estimate $9-million over the next 20 years.
The drilling will begin April 1st. It will take about a year to complete.
Rogers State University is also working to save on utility costs in other areas. Electrical lighting on campus is being upgraded with new energy-efficient light bulbs and sensors that will shut off lights when classrooms and offices aren't being used.