ACES turns up the heat with ground-source pump | AspenTimes.com

ACES turns up the heat with ground-source pump

Rachel Poole
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – A local environmental organization is tapping into the Aspen underground for heat from spring water.

At a small gathering at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies on Thursday, the organization unveiled its first renewable energy project: a ground-source heat pump.

In 2008, ACES vowed to be carbon neutral in 10 years. The heat pump is the organization’s first significant move in that direction. It fits with what ACES has dubbed its “getting green done” motto, and allows it to act as a model and educator for environmental living. Although completed in August, ACES has only recently put the heat pump to work, but the system has proven to keep the building cozy during the first chilly days of the season.

The geothermal system draws heat from groundwater and uses a radiant-heat method to extract the warmth and circulate it throughout the building. Once the heat has been extracted, the pump exports the cooler water back into the pond, located behind the ACES building.

“Every property and every homeowner has to assess their situation in order to know what type of heat system is appropriate for them,” said Bobbi Ann Houtsma, ACES projects manager. “For instance, we are looking into using a combination of geothermal, solar, micro hydro and biomass at our other ACES locations.”

Although Houtsma didn’t know exact numbers, she estimates that the system cost ACES between $80,000 and $90,000. The money came from grants and donations received from CORE, the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Environment Foundation, The Ruth H. Brown Foundation and several other donors.