Colorado State Capitol Building Geothermal Program Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Colorado State Capitol Building Geothermal Program
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act – Geothermal Technologies Program: Ground Source Heat Pumps
Project Type / Topic 2 Topic Area 1: Technology Demonstration Projects

Project Description This building is approximately 100 years old, and much of the building is heated with expensive district steam and lacks sufficient central cooling. The requested funding pertains to Topic Area 1 Technology Demonstration Projects. Funding would be used for Phase I – Feasibility Study and Engineering Design, Phase II – Installation and Commissioning of Equipment, and Phase III – Operation, Data Collection, and Marketing. Geothermal energy provided by an open-loop ground source heat pump system and upgrades to the building HVAC systems will reduce consumption of electricity and utility steam created with natural gas. Additionally, comfort, operations and maintenance, and air quality will be improved as a result. It is anticipated that the open loop GHP system will require a 500-650 gpm water flow rate.

The Colorado School of Mines, through its Geothermal Academy, will collect and analyze essential technical and economic data to assess the true performance of the GHP system. In collaboration with Chevron Energy Solutions, the Geothermal Academy will create an easy-to-use web-based monitoring system of energy consumption for educational and performance assessment purposes.

DPA’s funding share will come primarily from an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) with Chevron Energy Solutions, an energy services company (ESCO). The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) oversees ESCO activities in the State and will participate as a key stakeholder in the project. To optimize the effectiveness of the EPC, DPA will apply for an allocation of the CO Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECB). These are Bonds first made available by Congress in October 2008. Colorado’s allocation will be competitively awarded in the Fall of 2009. The advantage of using a QECB within an EPC is that the lower interest rate (expected to be 2-3%) will allow for more of the savings from the project be used to pay for the project instead of financing cost.

State Colorado
Objectives Demonstrate large-scale application of open-loop non-consumptive ground source heat pump (GSHP) technology while improving the energy efficiency of heating and cooling systems at the Colorado State Capitol building.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA)

Awardee Website
Partner 1 Colorado School of Mines
Partner 2 Chevron Energy Solutions

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000116

DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $4,600,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $2,978,672.00
Total Project Cost $7,578,672.00

Principal Investigator(s) Lance Shepherd, State of Colorado DPA

Targets / Milestones - Promote green-collar industry and create sustainable jobs, as well as reduce the Capitol’s carbon footprint through the reduction of green house gases.

- Demonstrate the viability of open loop systems for medium to large scale projects. The proposed production and reinjection type open loop system eliminates any concerns about discharging the water into drainage canals, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, or other waterways.
- Demonstrate the viability of the open loop non-consumptive system in a geographic area that historically has not utilized this technology.
- Demonstrate this technology in an urbanized location, where the difficulty in installing a standard closed loop system is not feasible due to significant site restraints imposed by existing structures and/or the building footprint with small lot sizes.

Location of Project Denver, CO

Impacts Strong data gathering and educational potential for GHP technology, for incorporation into Colorado School of Mines's Geothermal Academy.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs