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December 16, 2019
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School recess playlot
7130 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703)248-5297 (TTY 711)
well digger lineart
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Geothermal Well Groundbreaking

Monday, December 16, 2019

The new George Mason HS facility will use geothermal heat pumps - a key sustainability feature that uses deep wells in the ground as heat exchangers to reduce energy needed for heating and cooling. A groundbreaking to celebrate the start of drilling these 200 wells will be this Monday, December 16 at 4:00 p.m.

One of the key sustainability features for the new George Mason High School is the use of geothermal heat pumps, which use deep wells in the ground as heat exchangers to reduce the energy input needed for heating and cooling. Drilling of nearly two hundred wells, each more than 500’ deep (about as deep as the Washington Monument is tall), is scheduled to begin on December 16th. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned in the recess playlot adjacent to Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School at 4 p.m. on December 16th, from where we’ll be able to see the drilling rig in the area where the wells will be installed.

The geothermal system ties into the design of the school to be net zero ready. The idea is to reduce use of electricity to as low a level as possible through building design, insulation and highly efficient systems like a geothermal heat pump system. These ingredients make it feasible, with the addition of a rooftop solar energy system, for the building to achieve net zero energy use.

The feasibility of installing the system at the school was determined using technical assistance through the US Department of Energy (US DOE) Climate Action Champions Program to conduct a Geothermal Feasibility Study at the Falls Church Campus Redevelopment site. This study was conducted in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). The report, included in the Campus Redevelopment Small Area Plan, was a significant factor in getting the geothermal system incorporated in the school design.

Please park in the staff lot in front of Middle School. Guests will enter through the front door and access the area outside through the hallway at the entrance to the cafeteria.