Sweet Briar College’s Preservation Task Force’s mission is to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship, use, and appreciation of the historic and cultural resources of Sweet Briar College. Supporting the College’s long-term goals for additional facilities and increased enrollment, the Task Force identified a need for a campus-wide buildings assessment and subsequent geothermal feasibility study to identify and prioritize recommendations for repair, replacement, and upgrades of the current systems and central steam plant. The desire is for the new systems to provide resiliency and increased efficiency by eliminating fossil fuels.
2RW conducted an initial facilities condition assessment of the central steam plant and the 34 buildings it would serve, of which 18 are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. 2RW:
2RW took into consideration the College’s guiding principles, including preserving and maintaining the campus’ historical character; promoting the health, safety, and well-being of all occupants; and supporting the college’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. 2RW applied the information gathered from the facilities condition report, and assessment of the current central plant, and provided two primary options for replacing the central steam system with geothermal systems—a distributive geothermal system and a centralized geothermal system. A third option, a hybrid geothermal system, combined aspects from the aforementioned systems as appropriate based on existing site layout and power infrastructure limitations.
All system options are independent of fossil fuels and, when operated properly, have increased system efficiency gained from using the ground for heat transfer as opposed to traditional boilers and chillers. The geothermal system options also reduce maintenance through the consolidation of equipment and provide flexibility to support the addition of new buildings and the overall growth of the College while preserving the historic landscape of the campus.
During the assessment, 2RW identified that a campus electrical utility distribution upgrade is recommended to better support the geothermal systems and eliminate fossil fuel uses.. This is being performed as a secondary project and will help expand the geothermal options after completion.
OWNER: Sweet Briar College
SIZE: 545,000 SF