GEO Endorses National Wildlife Federation Geothermal Study

NWF Says Geothermal Heat Pumps Can Slash Energy Costs at U.S. Campuses

Washington, DC (March 18, 2011) The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) has endorsed a unique new report, Going Underground on Campus: Tapping the Earth for Clean, Efficient Heating and Cooling, by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).


Released in late February by the NWF Campus Ecology Program, the report examines geothermal energy systems on U.S. campuses, including geothermal heat pumps (GHPs – the most commonly used technology), direct-use, aquifer thermal energy storage, lake-source cooling, and geothermal electricity. Also featured is a review of underground, or earth-integrated, buildings.

NWF produced the report in partnership with GEO; the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA); APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities; Jobs for the Future; and the Energy Action Coalition. It was funded in part by The Kendeda Fund.

With technical insights contributed by GEO Chief Operating Officer John Kelly, the report describes how over 160 colleges and universities in 42 states use GHP systems for their heating and cooling needs. In doing so, they have cut their total energy consumption by 30 to 70 percent while substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The nation’s 4,100 two- and four-year colleges and universities spend more than $20 billion annually on energy ($5 million per campus average),” said Julian Keniry, NWF Director of Campus Ecology. “If they retrofitted their heating and cooling systems with GHP technologies, they could collectively save up to $7 billion every year, and cut the nation’s carbon footprint up to one percent.”

None of the findings are news to the geothermal industry. “Geothermal systems of all kinds are reducing our reliance on non-renewable or less safe sources, and yielding a good return on investment for colleges and universities,” said GEO President Douglas Dougherty. “The NWF report shows there is far more promise for geothermal heat pump and other systems on campuses than has been tapped to date.”

In addition to energy and cost savings, the report documents a variety of other benefits, including enhanced comfort, educational value, and most importantly, the creation of new high-paid construction and maintenance jobs.

“GEO expects a million new geothermal heat pump installations by 2017 will create 100,000 new jobs,” said Kelly, “many of which will require degrees or credentials from two- or four-year colleges and universities.” GEO expects that jobs in geothermal will multiply faster than most other occupations through 2018.

For more information about the Geothermal Exchange Organization and geothermal heat pump systems for residential and commercial applications—as well as membership opportunities—visit the GEO website at:

For more information about the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program, the Greenforce Initiative, and a free copy of the report, go to



Geothermal Exchange Organization

Ted J. Clutter (509) 758-2289

National Wildlife Federation

Julian Keniry (703) 438-6322


Discuss This Article