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Geothermal Energy

a diagram of how geothermal energy works showing heat pumps below UH delievering to grant hall.

Regardless the temperature outside, you will always feel comfortable inside Grant, Lincoln, and Douglas Halls. However, the process of heating and cooling these UIC buildings was one of the largest consumers of energy with the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions on campus.

That is why we cut it in half.


50% savings in energy consumption & Zero carbon emissions

Constant indoor temperature of 73 degrees F all year long!

Geothermal Power! Heading link

aerial view of the 300-feet-tall University Hall building

There is a geothermal system below the field just east of University hall that hosts a vertical labyrinth of pipes that heat and cool the air in Grant, Lincoln, and Douglas Halls.  As tall as University Hall is, that’s how deep the structure sits underground (100 meters)!

The pipes inside Lincoln Hall that carry geothermal energy in and out of the building

This building uses a closed-loop system with sensors, heat pumps and air exchangers, taking advantage of the relatively constant earth temperatures in the well field to maintain a comfortable indoor air environment year-round.

In the winter, the closed loop pipes bring up the ‘heat of the earth’. An electric compressor collects the warmth, and the building’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system distributes the warm air. In the summer, the process goes in reverse. The pipes draw away the indoor heat and carry it back underground.

student working on a laptop inside Lincoln Hall (Photo: Callie Lipkin)

Actions like taking public transportation and using energy-efficient appliances are examples of individual efforts that benefit the environment on a global scale. Celebrate UIC’s green culture today as part of the community and embrace it for the future outside the institution.

people stand on the geothermal well field with strips of old banners to create a walking maze

Geothermal A-MAZE!

Inspired by the idea that the pipes underground look similar to a maze, the geothermal well field was active above ground for a day with UIC volunteers.  The field displayed several strips of vinyl made from used outdoor banners.  In the middle of the field, volunteers laid the banner strips in a pattern on the grass to create a circular maze.

Adriana Solis  |  UIC Museum & Exhibition Studies, 2016

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