Large Scale Geothermal Exchange System for Residential, Office and Retail Development Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Large Scale Geothermal Exchange System for Residential, Office and Retail Development
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act – Geothermal Technologies Program: Ground Source Heat Pumps
Project Type / Topic 2 Topic Area 1: Technology Demonstration Projects
Project Description RiverHeath will be a new neighborhood, with residences, shops, restaurants, and offices. The design incorporates walking trails, community gardens, green roofs, and innovative stormwater controls.

A major component of the project is our reliance on renewable energy. One legacy of the land’s industrial past is an onsite hydro-electric facility which formerly powered the paper factories. The onsite hydro is being refurbished and will furnish 100% of the project’s electricity demand.

In addition, RiverHeath, LLC has studied the feasibility of a geothermal exchange system to heat and cool the project. To develop the geothermal exchange system, engineers at Madison-based Sustainable Engineering Group (SEG), collaborated with architects at Milwaukee-based Engberg Anderson and engineers at Appleton-based Boldt Construction. SEG developed an innovative design that incorporates use of the fast flowing tail-race below the hydro facility and river-based heat exchange plates. The fast flowing water provides a tremendous amount of heat exchange. As a result, the cost of this geothermal exchange system will be lower than more traditional vertical bore systems.

Forty-five of the fifty largest cities in the United States are located along waterways. RiverHeath could serve as a template for other projects adjacent to rivers and other water bodies. It will provide critical data to support budgeting decisions in future projects. It will also create jobs in the construction and maintenance of the system. Finally, a broad based marketing and outreach program will demonstrate the stability and cost-effectiveness of similar geothermal exchange systems.

State Wisconsin
Objectives Develop a geothermal exchange system at both lower capital infrastructure cost and also lower operational cost than current geothermal exchange systems.
Awardees (Company / Institution) RiverHeath, LLC
Awardee Website
Partner 1 Engberg Anderson
Partner 2 Boldt Construction

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000116
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $978,168.00
Awardee Cost Share $978,168.00
Total Project Cost $1,956,336.00

Principal Investigator(s) Mark Geall

Targets / Milestones The RiverHeath project is ready for construction. SEG completed the geothermal exchange feasibility study in July 2009. The RiverHeath team can begin construction on the system by Fall 2009.

Location of Project Appleton, WI
44.2619°, -88.4153°
About the Area RiverHeath is a 15 acre mixed-use brownfield redevelopment located along the shores of the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. This project is the culmination of a 10 year effort to clean up a former paper manufacturing operation.

Impacts River-based heat exchanger design offers potential to reduce GHP installation costs lower than more common vertical bore systems. Projects offers good transferribility since many urban areas are located along rivers and other waterways. Up to 241 jobs created.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs