Geothermal Network Project To Benefit Boston Public Housing

A pilot program seeks to be a model for electrifying groups of buildings or entire neighborhoods.

1 minute read

February 13, 2024, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Google street view of brick three-story public housing buildings in Dorchester, MA.

The Boston Housing Authority's Franklin Field apartments will be the site of the city's first geothermal network. | Google Maps / Street View

A geothermal energy project in Boston will connect seven federal public housing buildings to a networked geothermal grid, the first in the city and the second such project in Massachusetts. “The networked geothermal system, which includes ground-source heat pumps, will replace an aging gas boiler loop that serves 129 units at the Franklin Field Apartments. The system will provide in-unit cooling, meaning residents will no longer have to purchase window air conditioning units to stay comfortable during hot days.”

As Ysabelle Kempe explains in Utility Dive, “Networked geothermal uses underground pipes to heat and cool buildings in a highly efficient manner by pulling heat from the ground in the winter and transferring indoor heat to the ground to cool buildings in the summer.”

The approach of electrifying groups of buildings aims to streamline the process of decarbonization, rather than relying on individual homes and buildings switching out individual appliances. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, electric appliances also benefit public health by limiting harmful indoor air pollutants.

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