It’s a pleasure to be paired with Elaine at her excellent blog for the cleverly designed I Heart EdTech blog swap, a global effort concocted by our friends over at Simple K12. As Elaine did, I should give you a little background about myself. I’m a edublogger on several planes. I blog at scottmerrick.net in a personal/professional mashup that has become my primary source of personal expression, my very long book, if you will. Oh!VirtualLearning!, the blog that hosts Elaine’s IHeartEdTech post, has been covering news and events relating to Second Life and other Virtual Environments since May, 2007. My classroom blog has been running since August 2005, and it regularly documents the work I do with my Kindergarteners through 4th graders at my primary work, Lower School Technology Coordinator at University School of Nashville (Tennessee).
I have a 10 year service ball point pen made from an oak I used to sit underneath for lunch and we often meet at conference tables crafted from those same trees.
When our 30,000 square foot art building was designed and built, the administration took the opportunity to dig 110 6 inch diameter geothermal cores 300 feet deep into our wide open playground, resulting in our designation as a green school. There’s another great picture of the library and a brief description of the project here. At the time, we were Tennessee’s only urban example of the geothermal initiative, and much was made of it. Over time since then it’s paid off and it continues to do so. Here’s a reprint from a 2002 USN Newsletter article by our Director of Finance, Teresa Standard:
Why are we making such a mess? The geothermal system offers both financial and envronmental advantages. By taking advantage of the naturally constant temperature of our solid foundation of limestone, we can dramatically reduce the electricity required to heat and cool the buildings. Although the cost of installing this type of system is higher than the traditional four-pipe HVAC system in use our existing buildings, we chose the geothermal system because it’s the most energy efficient and environmentally responsible option available to us. It has lower maintenance costs and longer life than the conventional methods.
Most compelling of all for USN is the money we will save– $1 per square foot per year in operating, utility, and maintenance costs. After the library is built, we will have 47,000 square feet heated and cooled geothermally. These substantial savings will be well worth our present inconvenience. While we wish that we could take advantage of these savings for the rest of our buildings, we do not have enough land for the grid of piping required, and retrofitting the interior of the buildings would be cost-prohibitive.
A big thank you goes out to the folks at Simple K-12 and to Scott Merrick for this endeavor!