Low Temperature Geothermal Applications as Enablers of Sustainable Development: Practical Case Studies from Australia and UK
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This paper provides recent examples of geothermal energy application in high profile public buildings within urban settings. It outlines the application of a low temperature geothermal resource as a source of heating for the Challenge Stadium in Perth, Western Australia and the use of ambient temperature groundwater in UK for cooling at the Royal Festival Hall and the Tate Modern Gallery in Central London. Key benefits from the Challenge Stadium project completed in 2004 include reduced consumption of fossil based fuel, cost savings, water supply and water infrastructure development for a local school, enhanced sustainability profile for the sports and recreation facility. The groundwater cooling system at the Royal Festival Hall was commissioned in 2004 and fully operational in 2008 whilst the system at the Tate Modern Gallery is at an advanced stage of development. Sustainable development, specifically economic, planning, architectural and environmental factors, were the key reasons for groundwater being used as a low temperature geothermal sink for the latter projects. For cities situated on geothermal resources or productive aquifer systems, one of the greatest potential benefits from low temperature geothermal applications is the demonstration of sustainability principles, especially reduction of CO2 emissions due to displaced usage of fossil fuels. Projects such as Challenge Geothermal, Royal Festival Hall and Tate Modern Gallery can be legitimately recognised as sustainable as they are ecologically friendly and support locally appropriate technological solutions whilst benefitting the community and economy of the city.
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