Hillside Trust building at Alms Park now powered with geothermal

The Cincinnati Park Board has installed a geothermal system at a building within Alms Park with plans for two additional installations including the new Cincinnati Riverfront Park.

The total project cost $22,000 with an anticipated payback period of about 20 years.  The Hillside Trust occupies the building and director Eric Russo says that the new system provides enough power to satisfy all of their heating and cooling needs.

The system is one of the first of its kind in the region and is another sign of the Park Board’s push to be environmentally conscience with their impact within nature.  The Hillside Trust has also been working on several green initiatives that include new light wells within the building, and a hillside reclamation project behind the structure that cleared out all invasive species and reintroduced native plant life that also supports the hillside.

The work on the geothermal project took a total of five days which included the trenching work, laying of lines, installation of the water furnace and the installation of a new vent system as the building was previously heated by a radiator and had no air cooling mechanism.

Russo states that the work done by Cincinnati-based Bill Spade Electric, Heating & Cooling was not that invasive as they were able to use what is considered a ‘lateral system.’  In this system crews dug a five foot trench for a linear distance of about 600 feet.  Once dug, some 3,000 feet of plastic flexible piping was laid which carries a mixture of water (85%) and alcohol (15%) to prevent potential freezing.

The Geothermal project at Alms Park will allow the Parks to better manage their utility resources according to the Park Board, and is part of Cincinnati’s Climate Protection Action Plan.  In addition to this, the Park Board will also be implementing new rain gardens, conducting energy audits and continue their reforestation efforts that net an average of 2,000 new trees per year within the City of Cincinnati.  Park Board officials state that all of these initiatives make Cincinnati a more livable city for all of its residents.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
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