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Week of October 3, 2011

Geothermal facility to open on campus

When the new golf practice facility opens its doors this fall, it will be the first geothermal facility at U-M, using the earth’s natural energy to heat and cool the space.

The indoor portion of the 9,750 square-foot facility will be heated by the geothermal system. Using closed loop water system as a medium, the system draws upon the earth’s energy to warm the water to a constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees and then pumps the water out of the wells and into a heat exchanger.

In the winter, water is drawn from the ground for warmth and in the summer, water is sent into the ground to cool the facility.

Marina Roelofs, executive director for architecture, engineering and construction, added that geothermal energy is one resource that can be universally celebrated for its contribution to a cleaner, safer environment.

By using the earth’s natural temperature, the system requires less energy to heat or cool the building. University officials estimated energy savings to be around 30 percent as compared to a conventional system.

The Weisfeld Family Golf Center will provide the men’s and women’s varsity golf teams with year-round practice space, including a putting and chipping area and driving bays to utilize the existing driving range, as well as locker rooms and offices.

In addition to the geothermal system, the new facility was built with the maximum insulation in foundation walls, exterior walls, and roof assemblies, energy efficient windows/glazing for increased thermal performance and daylighting controls for exterior lighting.

The facility also features low-flow fixtures and the use of low-volatile organic compounds (VOCs) materials — such as with carpeting and paints. Whenever possible, construction on the site used regional/recycled materials as well.

In addition, the Athletic Department plans to begin working with Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program to achieve certification for the U-M Golf Course around water usage and conservation, health and safety.



Katherine Weider, creative arts producer, School of Art & Design, on offering advice for students: “You can’t always imagine your future. I think you have to trust that your loves and your interests will eventually lead you to the right place.”


“Photographer as Witness: Proof Enough?” with Jill Vexler, 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery in Room 100

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