Construction is underway on a thermal energy production and storage facility on the University of Notre Dame campus. The university says the East Plant, which will house the mechanical equipment for its new geothermal well fields, is expected to come online in 2019.

The 30,000-square-foot facility will include two 2,000-ton electric-driven chillers and a thermal energy storage tank that will be able to store two million gallons of chilled water. It will also house five geothermal heat recovery chillers that will provide both heating and cooling. 

Notre Dame says the chilled water produced at the plan will be a source for the distribution system on campus, while the hot water will be piped into nearby buildings for a more efficient approach to heating. 

"This new facility supports campus energy growth using efficient and renewable energy strategies," said Paul Kempf, senior director of utilities and maintenance. "The East Plant will be the conduit for our largest geothermal project by utilizing efficient electricity produced at the existing power plant and providing chilled water for cooling and hot water for heating."

Notre Dame has three geothermal well fields on campus. The first went online last summer, while the other two are expected to go online in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The well fields were spotlighted in an issue of our INPower e-newsletter last year. 

The entire project is part of the university's Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, which aims to reduce the campus' carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030.