Please pardon the inconvenience while we replace our 25 year old oil fired / cooling tower system with a new geothermal heating / cooling system. We expect the project to be completed in the Fall of 2012. Check out the progress:
Click on poster for full size (.pdf)
December 12, 2011, Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why is the parking lot all torn up?
A: There will be 40 wells drilled in the parking lot. The wells are a key component of a geothermal system. Each well will be about 400-feet deep and is similar to the process of drilling a water well that many homes in Tolland have. The wells in a geothermal system take the place of a boiler and a cooling tower in a conventional HVAC system.
Q: What goes in the wells?
A: Plastic pipe made of HDPE (high density polyethylene). The pipe is about 1.25” in diameter and a mixture of 80% water and 20% propylene glycol runs through the pipes. Propylene glycol is a non-toxic antifreeze.
Q: Anything else in the wells?
A: Yes, grout comprised mostly of silica sand that is pumped into the wells but outside of the piping, starting at the bottom of each well. The grout ensures that there is no air between the pipes in the well and the earth. Grout transfers heat to the pipes much better than air.
Q: Is this an open loop system or a closed loop system?
A: This is a closed loop system, which is more common than an open loop system. This means that the water and glycol always stays in the pipe and
continuously circulates through the ground and through the building to transfer heat and cold where it is needed.
Q: How warm is the earth here in Tolland?
A: About 50° all through the year.
Q: Is this warm enough to heat this building?
A: Yes, 35° geothermal water that comes out of the heat pumps in the building will circulate through the wells and be warmed by the 50° earth. The heat pumps then extract heat from the “warm” water to make warm air to heat the building . The cycle is then repeated
Q: How many tons is this geothermal system?
A: About 120 tons. A ‘ton’ is an HVAC term that indicates the amount of cooling energy a one ton block of ice gives up when melted over a 24-hour time period.
Q: What company has the project been awarded to?
A: W.J. Mountford located in South Windsor, CT.
July 1, 2011 Update: The town has now released an Invitation to Bid (pdf), as mentioned in the July 1, 2011 Journal Inquirer. Please download the file for details and important dates.
February 15, 2011 Referendum Update: The referendum passed, 683-480. Thanks to all who supported this effort!
Why should I care about this issue?
The Hick’s Memorial Municipal Center & Library is Tolland’s primary community building. It facilitates preschool programs, recreation activities, the town’s volunteer commissions, transaction of governmental affairs, organization meetings, as well as storage of vital records, a home for Probate Court, and the majority of Tolland’s town workers, librarians, and all those books we love. The Town Hall and Library facility is one of Tolland’s most heavily utilized public spaces excluding schools.
Town Hall & Library facts:
- The main structure has served the community for more then 100 years.
- Originally constructed in 1908 as the Ratcliffe Hicks Memorial School.
- Additions took place in 1940s and 1960s due to expanding needs of the school.
- Last renovated in 1984 when it was converted into the Town Hall and Library.
- The facility is now 40,000 sq feet stretched over 6 levels.
- It accounts for 26% of the town’s energy expenditures (excludes BOE).
January 21, 2011 Update: We have been authorized to use Qualified Energy Conservation Bond allocation funds as a possible geothermal project financing source. This could save Tolland $500,000-$900,000 in interest related costs over the life of the bond. Please read more about this CDA Bond allocation here.
So, what is wrong with the facility?
The Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling system is failing and needs to be replaced. The indoor air quality is poor and the system is costly to operate and maintain.
Read more about this situation:
What is the recommendation of the Energy Task Force, Town Manager, and the architects and engineers associated with the project?
Have Questions or Comments on this project? Please email them to
Beverly Belody, the Town Liaison to the Energy Task Force.