Senator Durbin Helps Chicago Health Care Clinic “Go Geo”

In July 2011, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced $4.5 million through theSenator Dick Durbin Affordable Care Act for 17 school-based health center grants, to establish new sites or upgrade their current facilities to better serve Illinois children. The grants are issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education.

Among the awards was $250,000 for the Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC) in Chicago. Lawndale applied its grant toward construction of a new, Gold LEED certified energy efficient facility that is heated and cooled by a geothermal heat pump system. LCHC is a community-based nonprofit organization, dedicated to improving the health of Chicago’s West Side. LCHC provides services without regard for ability to pay and serves as a community resource for eliminating health disparities.

“A conventional heating and cooling system would have required excavation for a basement to house all the equipment, plus chillers and other equipment on the roof,” explained Lawndale CEO Bruce Miller. “Installation cost of a geothermal system (without basement excavation) was not a lot more, and over the long term might prove the more cost-effective approach.” The Lawndale geothermal heat pump system relies on 22 boreholes, each 550-feet deep, for its underground loop system. “The manifold is being installed now,” said Miller.

During a recent visit, Sen. Durbin took special interest in the Lawndale facility’s energy efficient measures, and especially its heating and cooling method. “Both Sen. Durbin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn were fascinated by our new geothermal system. In fact, everyone who visits Lawndale finds it extremely interesting and want to know more, including our staff of over 400,” said Miller.