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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Geothermal recap, outlook

A couple weeks after I met Linn County conservation official Jon Gallagher at a supervisors’ meeting in early February, the Gazette came out with a story looking at the concerns over open-loop geothermal heating and cooling.Then the Marion city council voted to impose a moratorium on open loops, and then the Linn-Mar School Board decided to go with a closed loop at Novak Elementary School instead of an open loop.An open loop project is still going forward at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, but county conservation officials and officials from the school district say they’re willing to meet. No word on when a meeting would be, or what would happen at it.It’ll be interesting to see how the Cedar Rapids School District responds to some of the criticisms of open-loop geothermal. It’s a complicated issue, but surely Superintendent Dave Markward was watching when the Marion city council shut down the Novak Elementary project. The issue hasn’t come up yet at a city council meeting in Cedar Rapids.

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2 Responses

  1. TJS says:

    What is the difference between “open loop” and “closed loop”?

  2. adambelz says:

    An open loop is a system that draws water that’s a constant temperature from a well, cycles it through the building to heat or cool it, then discharges it on the landscape, usually into creeks or storm sewers.

    A closed loop is a *closed* system of pipes where the same water cycles continuously. It gathers heat from the ground in the network of pipes buried below the frost line, then returns to the building. There the water is used to heat or cool the building. But unlike an open loop, a closed loop system doesn’t discharge the water.

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