|Underground heating-cooling system will raise bar for energy efficiency
Polar bears like it cool, elephants like it warm and the Oregon Zoo likes it sustainable. Now, zoo construction crews have begun work on a project that will let these two endangered species keep each other's thermostats at comfy levels via an innovative high-tech system buried 12 feet underground.
There's also a "Slinky" involved. It's called a geothermal loop.
Heat is created as a byproduct of cooling the polar bear swimming pools at the zoo. And rather than just expel that heat, the geothermal system will direct it through rows of Slinky-like coiled pipes buried deep in the northern section of Elephant Lands.
The ground maintains a constant temperature, insulating the pipes. Then, when it's time to crank the thermostat, pumps connected to the system will deliver heat to Forest Hall, the 32,000-square-foot indoor portion of Elephant Lands.
The geothermal loop and other energy-efficient design systems are expected to cut Elephant Lands' energy requirements in half, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and serve as the primary heat source for what will be one of the country's largest indoor elephant facilities. [ link ]
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