Renewables company Brightcore Energy began constructing a new geothermal heating and cooling project at Bard College, a private liberal arts college in New York, to replace the current fossil fuel fired- system at the school’s library.

The initial scope of the project includes 50 boreholes, drilled to a depth of 500 ft, that will contain the 1¼ in diameter geothermal loops and thermally enhanced grout, Brightcore said in a Feb. 27 press release.

“It is the default for all new construction projects, and nearly 38% of the campus building area utilizes the technology,” said Dan Smith, Bard’s energy manager and special projects coordinator. “However, converting the rest of the existing building stock is an entirely new set of challenges, especially when infrastructure is 50 to 100 or more years old.”

Smith says the project will be Bard’s first effort to transform its library, with an oil-fire boiler plant and conventional chiller system, to a ground-source heat exchanger and heat pump plant.

Bard has been an early adopter of geothermal, with some systems on campus dating to the late 1980s. Through its office of sustainability, the college pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, the release stated.

Brightcore will deliver feasibility and design, drilling and ground loop installation, mechanical connections, incentive procurement and ongoing system performance monitoring upon completion.