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Good InfoRenovated Microsoft Campus Set to Use Geothermal Energy to Heat/Cool Millions of...

Renovated Microsoft Campus Set to Use Geothermal Energy to Heat/Cool Millions of Sq Ft. of Office Space

The Thermal Energy Center control room – released by GLY Construction.

It’s been four years now, but Microsoft’s Redmond campus modernization is almost finished. The massive 72-acre rebuild includes dozens of hopefully planet-saving designs and features, but none are more impressive than the Geothermal Energy Center (TEC).

To heat and cool the massive campus, a 6.5-acre geothermal well field, consisting of around 900 boreholes drilled up to 550 feet deep was completed last year with the aim of delivering 50% of the heating and cooling needs without carbon emissions.

The subsurface environment was unmapped, and known to be riddled with past construction debris and natural obstacles. Nevertheless, GLY Construction who managed the drilling efforts completed all work under budget and on time thanks to an innovative approach of virtual design and virtual construction that included a 3D model of the components and the job site true to within 256ths of an inch.

The closed-loop geothermal heating and cooling system sends either cool or warm water to exchange energy with the deep earth, and the refrigeration is so powerful that it could cool 3,000 homes in the summertime.

“The TEC’s heating capacity is 28 million Btus per hour,” reports Engineering News Record, who nominated the TEC as Project of the Year.

“Its nine chillers can provide 9,000 tons of refrigeration. The system is sized to serve 3 million square feet of office and amenity space in 17 new buildings, four of which are not yet built.”

The well field was covered over by 2.5 miles of walking and bike trails as well as a multi-purpose field built for softball and other sports, a cricket pitch, and basketball courts.

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Giant 28,000-gallon water tanks, four for hot water and three for cold, hold the water that’s exchanged in the piping below the Earth, and the temperature contained within is used to heat or cool the campus before the water is sent back down either to cool off or heat up again.

The whole thing is powered by renewable energy, meaning the comparatively small quantity of electricity needed to power the heat exchanger comes with zero emissions.

The Redmond East campus will include 6.7 million square feet of renovations, and carbon-lowering elements abound, from an all-electric kitchen space to the building of cisterns to catch 200,000 gallons of rainwater.

MORE CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY: New Google Geothermal Electricity Project Could Be a Milestone for Clean Energy

During the build, Microsoft and their contractors diverted 95% of demolition waste from landfills and reduced embodied carbon in building materials by at least 30%.

“I’ve been in construction my entire 40-plus-year career and have never done a project that has such a commitment to the environment like the Thermal Energy Center,” says Green, building systems director of OAC, a project management firm who represented Microsoft during the build.

WATCH the campus come to life below… 

SHARE The Green Revolution Going On At Microsoft With Your Friends… 


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