Geothermal Wells


Understanding Mohawk's new geothermal wells 

Understanding Mohawk’s new geothermal wells

Construction for the Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation (JCP & I) is well underway as we enter the new school year. The 96,000-square foot building is one of the region’s first net zero institutional buildings and will boast a handful of impressive features to promote sustainable energy.

One of these features includes the already installed geothermal wells; a whopping 28 of them. To heat the JCP & I, 28 geothermal wells have been drilled into rock to a depth of 184.4 m. or 605 feet. These boreholes have an average spacing of 4 metres apart and the well field will encompass approximately 53,000 m³ of volume below ground. This below-ground space is often referred to as a geoexchange well field and will be able to store heat rejected in the summer for extraction during the winter months when heating is needed for the building. Consider this analogy: a car engine produces a considerable amount of heat. The car radiator dissipates this heat by passing wind through the front car grill and cooling it. Geothermal systems for typical buildings act in the opposite way. Instead of dissipating the building heat, the system stores heat produced by mechanical heat pumps to provide the heating for the building.

Mohawk’s wells are designed in a closed loop system, which means heat transfer fluid is circulated through a continuous loop of pipe into heat pumps located in the building as shown below.

It makes sense that Mohawk’s new Net Zero building would choose to incorporate geothermal energy into its design as its one of the cleanest renewable energy sources available. The adva

ntages to geothermal energy are plenty: it’s eco-friendly as it emits close to zero greenhouse gases, it takes waste heat in the building during the summer months and stores in below ground for use during the winter months, it generates no sound pollution, and because people are just hopping on the geothermal energy bandwagon, the installation of geothermal systems can create new local jobs in Ontario and beyond. Each drilled well for the JCP & I will store enough heat for a 2000 sq. ft. home each year and will help offset 7 tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG’s). That’s almost 200 tonnes of GHG’s avoided each year. This entire system has a life span of 100 years!

With its new geothermal wells, the JCP&I is working towards being an important contributor to clean energy in Canada.