Photo by The Consumerist
Denver is known for its harsh winters, but it is hoped that the geothermal pumps will set a standard for retail stores in less temperate states. The depth of 500ft for the holes was chosen because the temperature beneath the earth’s surface is suprisingly moderate. This has been noticed by miners in the state before and is due to thermal inertia — the propensity for soil to heat up or cool down much slower than air or water. Using thermal heat has is a practice that has been around for centuries, and some archaeologists even believe that primitive man chose deeper caves as shelter due to their warmth.
The geothermal heating and cooling system “is something that globally IKEA has been considering for a number of years,” Wolfe added. “We’re very excited about working with NREL. The partnership has turned out to be very beneficial for both of us. It is providing both of us with useful information about operating such programs.” Seeing the information in real time “will allow us to determine and manage the efficiency of the geothermal system in Centennial” as well as planning for “future operations at this location as well as at other IKEA stores.
In the American West, geothermal projects are catching on and increased 46% in 2009 from the previous year. Then, about 3100 megawatts of capacity were built, with another 6400 megawatts slated for construction in the coming months.