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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing Manager at HealthTrust. Social media junkie, strategist, and app idea guy. Hockey fan, photographer, and father to 2 awesome boys.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

geothermal projects

Just a quick note about a new project in the projects. A public housing project in East Nashville (our 'hood) has been selected to be a pilot for a new system for using geothermal energy to assist in heating/cooling the units.

However, I wouldn't look to the article about it on the Tennessean's website as a source of helpful information though. Among my favorite quotes: "Geothermal energy generates power by using the ground as an energy source." There are so many things wrong with that statement it's hard to break it down. If someone has figured out how to turn actual dirt into electricity, please, let me invest in that company now.

First, "geothermal energy" is just the heat energy that comes from radioactive and other processes deep within the Earth's core. Basically, the Earth is a big heated blanket.

Second, "geothermal power" refers to using geothermal energy to generate power. It takes the heat out of the ground (not the ground itself) and uses it to create steam to drive turbines which generate electricity. Unless the housing authority is going to build a small but very expensive geothermal power plant in East Nashville, i doubt very seriously this is what is going down in the 'hood.

I think what they are really doing is geothermal heating. That is, using the heat in the ground to make the normal, electric-powered heating and cooling of the building and water supply more efficient. It basically involves running pipes into the ground to heat water, and use that heated water to help pre-heat air and water before going through the normal air conditioning and water heaters.

Anyway, i don't want this to degenerate into another article bashing bad reporting and fact-checking. It is meant to be a post about the cool new project itself. It really is great that they are using these new technologies to make the projects more efficient. Saving taxpayers money, and helping show the viability of these "green" resources for use by others.

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