IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A recently passed $53 million bond for District 91 will allow four elementary schools to be rebuilt. The four schools-- Ethel Boyes, Dora Erickson, Edgement and Longfellow elementaries-- will all be renovated to include a geothermal heating and cooling systems.
District 91 Communication Coordinator Margaret Wimborne said energy efficiency was a top priority in the design.
"One of the features we looked at was geothermal wells, sort of using using geothermal energy to heat and cool the buildings," said Wimborne.
Jody Denning has been installing geothermal systems for more than 30 years.
"The groundwater source heat pump has provided efficient cooling and efficient heating for the type of weather we have here in Idaho," said Denning.
Denning said the average temperature for groundwater in the Idaho Falls area is 53 degrees.
"So as you take water out of the ground at 53, degrees you can run it through a heat exchanger and just blow off of that and you'd have really good cooling for a building, The opposite is also true when you think of 53-degree water in when it's zero or below temperatures, that's very warm, so that water, as it comes out, we're able to utilize it for heating also."
Denning said more school districts are beginning to implement geothermal heating to save money.
"In these times when money is so tight, it's definitely a benefit, any money we can save in energy costs is money we can free up for our classrooms," said Wimborne.