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Tim O'Kane August 25, 2011 News

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City digs deep to save big

Originally Published by KCTV5
Aug 4, 2011  Updated: Aug 25, 2011
By Chris Oberholtz, Multimedia Producer
By Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer

Crews are drilling 400 feet down into the earth on Prairie Village city grounds, and it's all in an effort to save on heating and cooling costs. One hole is so big it would rival the length of Liberty Memorial if a person stacked two of them end to end.

"The ground is our energy source," said Prairie Village Building Inspector David Mcauliffe.

What is being done is called a geothermal energy system project. Mcauliffe explains it like this: Underground, the earth's temperature sits at a constant cool 57 degrees. In the summer, a series of pipes carrying coolant will blast cold air into city buildings and store the hot air underground. In the winter those same pipes will pull out the hot air and warm the buildings.

Mcauliffe said the project eliminates gas to heat buildings and homes.

Mcauliffe said two grants are helping defray the $1.2 million up front cost to install it. Once it's in, the city's heating and cooling bills are expected to drop 42 percent.

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