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A new neighborhood in Massachusetts is using geothermal energy to reduce emissions.
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As concerns about greenhouse gas emissions grow, more developers across the U.S. are looking to incorporate energy efficiency into their building designs. A company in Massachusetts may have found a useful resource for this effort. In Framingham, Mass., electric services company Eversource Energy has established the first networked geothermal neighborhood in the U.S. According to Route Fifty, the neighborhood features pipes drilled 600 to 700 feet deep to access the stable 55° F temperatures of the rock underground. A mixture of water and propylene glycol circulates through these pipes to harness geothermal energy, which is then used by electric heat pumps to heat or cool 31 residential and five commercial buildings. This system, if widely adopted, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, which account for about one-third of total emissions in the U.S.

While temperatures aboveground fluctuate throughout the year, the ground stays a stable temperature, meaning it’s humming with geothermal energy that engineers can exploit. “Every building sits on a thermal asset,” said Cameron Best, director of business development at Brightcore Energy in New York, which deploys geothermal systems. “I really don’t think there’s any more efficient or better way to heat and cool our homes.”

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