Schools and zoos (one may argue that they are in fact the same) are embracing geothermal energy. Take for instance the middle schools near Madison, Wisconsin and the public zoo in Toledo, Ohio.
The Fort Atkinson School District in Madison, WI has decided to embrace geothermal energy as a method to save money while teaching the kids about alternative energy. Four schools within the district will be renovated to incorporate alternative energy methods.
One middle school is already using a geothermal system that starts with wells deep below the football field and use pumps to both heat and cool the middle school. So, far the school has saved $40,000 with geothermal energy and that number is expected to balloon to $80,000 this year. Of course, this same school is also using solar panels to heat the swim team’s swimming pool so both energy from the earth and sun are used to cut expenses and as a teaching tool.
Also, in the Midwest, the Toledo Zoo is now drilling geothermal wells to help both heat and cool the center. The geothermal energy will mainly be used to keep the facility’s aquarium at the correct temperature and will reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint by 38-percent annually.
On August 26, this year the Toledo Zoo also installed a small residential wind turbine inside the facility. The turbine was also used as a sign of corporate responsibility, showing the public the need to go green and will power one of the new ticket booths for the zoo.
While an estimated two-thirds of the population is now saying “drill, baby, drill” with the mistaken notion that a few drops of crude oil seven years from now will save a few pennies at the pump, the actually drilling that should be taking place right now all over the nation is for geothermal energy. Zoos and schools are a start, but this much neglected renewable energy resource needs its own “Pickens Plan” to get the nation moving down in the right direction.