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Geothermal: HARD WORK PAYS OFF!!!

What’s This About?

For the past couple of weeks, Yufan and I have been involved in the proposed Geothermal project for the Haverford Township Recreation and Environmental Center. This heavily debated project has stood the test of 10 years and finally will be realized in November 2010. HREC , as our friends at Parks & Recreation like to call it, is one part of an overall Climate Action Plan instituted by the township.

In September 2008 the township adopted a Climate Action Plan for the purpose of reducing carbon use in the township by 30% by 2020. Part of that plan involved educating the public. It also includes the township showing leadership by example in its facilities and operations. This facility is intended to be a model of a green building with many energy saving components and serve as a teaching facility. Installing a geothermal system at the Center will help the Township meet its carbon reduction plan and save the taxpayers money.

Included in the components of the 35,000 square foot Community Recreation and Environmental Center which is scheduled to begin construction this October and open in January 2012 are; a double gymnasium, an elevated walking track, rooms for senior wellness classes, after-school programs and community use, and an environmental nature education area.


Victor Donnay as well as Ass’t Township Manager, Tim Denny, came to us with the task of writing a PEDA Geothermal Grant. The thought of writing this daunting document, though exciting, frightened we two inexperienced fledglings. To begin the process, we looked to the people. It was the hope of many residents that the center would house the most eco-friendly technology available. A geothermal system would create overall energy savings of $2.25 mil over the next 50 years and 20.8 mil pounds of carbon emission savings over the same time period. Despite the extravagant upfront cost, this is a solid investment.

Supporters like Martin Kimmel, the project’s architect, engineer Michael Barr, and Victor Donnay presented a strong case to the board of commissioners on Monday June 7th at the township’s work session. As two non-residents, we were anxious at the reaction of the board members as well as the meeting’s attendants. To our surprise, all except a few seemed to be in strong favor of the geothermal project. Triumphant in the overall consensus, we left the township building eager for the project’s vote, an issue to be discussed at a later date.

We continued to work on the grant, hoping that on Mon. June 14th the decision for GEOTHERMAL would be in our favor. We spent many a night on calculations and executive summaries. Hoping I would not have to the phrase “Project Description” for a long time, Yufan and I went to the final township meeting. This was it. We had all the cards in our favor. One local brought in her nephew, an eager boy scout willing to make a statement in favor of our work. After the floor was cleared, the vote began. There was one YES, then two, and then four. The concluding result was a unanimous vote in favor of GEOTHERMAL!!!!!!


With the deadline approaching with lighting speed, we spent the next 24 hours preparing this living document for a 4pm online submission deadline. It took 5 people, a slow MAC, and a working PC to submit what will be the application for half of the project’s costs.

We move forward on!!!!!!

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