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City Seeking Grant for Geothermal System for New Convention Hall

 

By Jack Fichter

CAPE MAY — The city is applying for a $300,000 state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) grant to install geothermal heating and cooling in the new Convention Hall scheduled to begin construction this fall.
The grant is for “Local Government Greenhouse Gas Reduction.” At a July 21 meeting, City Council approved an agreement with the mechanical engineering firm of Gillan and Hartmann not to exceed a fee of $7,800 to prepare the grant application. Gillan and Hartmann is also creating plans for electrical work and plumbing for the new hall.
Mayor Edward J. Mahaney Jr. said the application required drawings and designs for a geothermal system for Convention Hall.
According to GeoExchange®, “Geothermal heating and cooling uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool homes and businesses with 40% to 70% less energy than conventional systems. While conventional furnaces and boilers burn a fuel to generate heat, geothermal heat pumps use electricity to simply move heat from the earth into buildings, allowing much higher efficiencies.
The most efficient fuel-burning heater can reach efficiencies around 95%, but a geothermal heat pump can move up to 4 units of heat for every unit of electricity needed to power the system, resulting in a practical equivalence of over 400% efficiency.”
Mahaney said he believed Cape May would score highly on three of six components of the grant criteria. He said the city must submit a preliminary application by October 4 with the final application due on November 4.
City Manager Bruce MacLeod said he did not have a full estimate of the cost of a geothermal system but the grant would make a significant impact of reducing the cost. He said the city also intended to install solar panels and possibly wind turbines on the new Convention Hall.

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