Greening the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island

Statue of Liberty

The federal government took its own advice with regard to energy efficiency when it supported alternative energy by installing a geothermal well on New York’s Liberty Island.

Utilizing the earth as a heat source, geothermal wells provide renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers geothermal the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean and cost effective space controlling system available.

The purpose for the new well was to provide energy-efficient geothermal power for the heating and air conditioning of the facility which would conserve energy and reduce operational expenses.

The drilling of the Liberty Island geothermal well took five working days but the challenge for the crew was executing this and moving equipment on and off the island without disturbing the flow of tourists. After the drilling was complete the crew installed 260 feet of 6-inch Certa-Lok PVC Well Casing and 1,290 feet of 4-inch Certa-Lok PVC Well Casing for the well’s Porter Shroud.  The crew then installed a submersible pump within the Porter Shroud using 200 feet of 3-inch Certa-Lok PVC Drop Pipe.

As the well operates, the ground water beneath the Statue of Liberty travels at a rate of 120 gallons per minute down the well core and enters the Porter Shroud through perforations at 1500 feet.  It then flows up to the pump and circulates back into heat pumps within the Liberty Island Retail Pavilion.  The heat pumps pull temperature from the 55-degree water and return cold water back to the ground.  During the warmer months, the system reverses, meaning the pump will transfer heat in the building to the water being used and return it back underground. This type of geothermal well is typical in commercial installations where a large heating/cooling demand is present, but the surface area will not allow for a closed-loop well field.

Geothermal systems can be installed in commercial or residential projects. For residential, the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association estimates that these systems can create heating efficiencies of 50 to 70 percent higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies of 20 to 40 percent higher than available air conditioners.

Do you have any experiences with these systems that you can share?

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  2. This is not a comment so much as a question. PVC pipe is often used for frames of temporary structures, and other applications. Mine would be a frame for a recumbent tricycle. Yellomine seems to have the rigidity required, and the 2 inch diameter pipe would seem to be more than sufficient for such an application. Would you care to comment on this?

  3. Thank you for your Blog comment. As you point out, PVC pipe is often used for applications not involving fluid conveyance – examples are conveyor rollers, furniture, etc. Given the numerous unknowns (frame size, connections, loading, how used, etc.), we cannot comment directly on your proposed application, but we would be interested in seeing some pictures of the product if you feel that the properties of Yelomine pipe are suitable for the intended use, and decide to move forward. If you require any additional data on mechanical properties, joining methods, etc., we would be pleased to provide this information.

    Thank you for your interest in CertainTeed products.

    Sincerely,

    Steven B. Gross, P.E.
    Director of R&D and Technical Services, Pipe & Foundation Products