St. Patrick’s Cathedral goes geothermal - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Energy Procurement, Sourcing Renewables  -  March 19, 2018

St. Patrick’s Cathedral goes geothermal

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located in midtown Manhattan, has installed a state-of-the-art geothermal cooling system as part of a nearly $200 million renovation. The new system will replace steam radiators and an air-conditioning system that dates back to the 1960’s.

The New York Times reported that the cathedral’s perimeter now features 10 wells as deep as 2,200 feet that collect groundwater to help with efficient heating and cooling. The entire system, including fan coils, pumps, pipes,  and compressors, is invisible to Cathedral visitors.

"It was not only the most sustainable, cost-effective, long-term energy option for the cathedral, but the option that best aligns with the greater good of New York, and not just today, but for generations to come," said Monsignor Robert T. Ritchie, the rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The project’s designers noted that St. Patrick's standing well geothermal project is the largest ever built in Manhattan. Despite an installation cost of about $35 million, the archdiocese hopes to set a precedent for other buildings, particularly historical ones.

"If you are an institution that isn’t going to be here for hundreds of years, you may do something less expensive," said Jeffrey Murphy of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, overseers of the cathedral’s restoration. "But if you are interested in sustainability, and you are interested in the long haul, it is a great system." The archdiocese explored several options as part of the renovation, with the geothermal system chosen because of aesthetics, longevity, the high cost of a new traditional system and the desire to do something green, said Murphy.

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