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AC is damaging to the planet. This structure has a sustainable design.

Midway through the month of July may be quite hot and humid at the 1 Java Street construction site in Brooklyn, New York. However, at a depth of 500 feet, the temperature remains a constant 55 degrees.

The residential structure that will shortly be constructed on the site, a picturesque area in the Greenpoint district on Brooklyn’s waterfront, will rely heavily on the consistent subsurface temperature to ensure the comfort of its future residents.

When completed in late 2025, 1 Java Street will have 834 rental apartments and retail space, making it the largest multifamily, residential structure using a “geothermal” heating and cooling system in New York State, and possibly the country.

Geothermal technology is a more sustainable alternative to conventional HVAC systems, as it can cool and heat indoor rooms and water without the use of fossil fuels or window air conditioners. Lendlease claims the technology will allow the over 790,000 square foot skyscraper to emit zero greenhouse gases and release approximately 55% less carbon.

With global summer temperatures at record highs, experts say it could be vital to combat climate change to develop ways to cool buildings that are less stressful on the environment. According to a report issued by the International Energy Agency in 2018, around 20% of total global electricity use went toward powering air conditioners and electric fans. Now, professionals in the fields of energy and urban planning are recommending that municipalities and builders adopt innovative strategies to reduce heat island effect. Geothermal systems are one method New York City and the Biden administration have found for lowering GHG emissions.

“We always think about how to improve a site’s sustainability whenever we examine it,” Lendlease’s SVP and Director of Development Layth Madi said, and the firm’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2025 and entirely decarbonized by 2040, he says.

Many people, Madi argues, will opt to live in the building because of its environmental credentials. Many people are concerned about global warming and the effects of human activity, we know that much.

In order to take advantage of the earth’s relatively constant internal temperature, geothermal plumbing involves piping water from a building deep underground, where it is cooled by the earth’s core on hot days and warmed by the earth’s core on cold days.

In order to install the geothermal piping system for 1 Java Street, construction personnel are currently drilling 320 holes, each with a diameter of about 4 inches and a depth of around 499 feet.

When you switch on the thermostat, it signals to the structure, “I need heating or cooling. According to Adam Alaica, Geosource Energy’s director of engineering and development, it energizes pumps, and those pumps flow fluid through the [geothermal] circuit that we’ve established here on site.” Geosource Energy is a Canadian company responsible for installing and drilling the vertical geothermal piping at 1 Java Street.

The procedure is now quite expensive. Madi estimates that getting the equipment and skilled labor necessary to install the geothermal system added about 6 percent to the overall cost of construction.

It’s great news for the industry as a whole because interest in the technology is growing quickly, with Alacia comparing it to exponential growth year over year. Specialized equipment to build this infrastructure and the human resources to operate it have been, and will continue to be, the main obstacles to expansion.

Madi predicts that prices will decrease in the future as more builders start using geothermal and more businesses start offering the specialized training required to install the technology (Geosource has its own training program). It is expected that heating and cooling costs will decrease once the building is operational.

The flats at 1 Java Street will be marketed at market rate, with 30% of them reserved as affordable housing, but Lendlease did not say whether or not occupants may expect utility cost savings thanks to the geothermal system. Tenants, according to the business’s statement, “will ultimately be responsible for managing their power consumption and working with the utility company on billing.”

Although 1 Java Street will be one of the few geothermal buildings in New York, its developers believe the city, and the world, might benefit from additional structures like it.

“The use of geothermal energy is not cutting-edge. using the ground as a heat source and heat sink has a certain element of the primitive about it,” Alacia stated. In a nutshell, geothermal energy may be put to use just about anywhere there is soil to heat or cool. Although its price and business rationale are open to change, its technical credentials are high pretty much everywhere in the country.

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