Thanks to a unique energy project spearheaded by Consumers Energy and Cherryland Electric Cooperative, the restored farmland at Historic Barns Park will soon be producing more than just food.
A new geothermal well system running directly underneath farming areas at the park will use energy from the Earth to help to heat and cool the nearby Cathedral Barn. The inaugural “Energy Farm” project at Historic Barns Park was recently celebrated in a recognition ceremony at the park (video).
Geothermal technology takes advantage of moderate underground temperatures to help cool buildings in the summer and warm them in the winter, reducing overall energy consumption and costs. Installation of the geothermal system was largely supported by a $40,000 contribution from Consumers Energy and a $22,000 contribution from Cherryland Electric Cooperative, with additional contributions from Traverse City Light & Power and the joint Traverse City/Garfield Township Recreational Authority that owns and manages the park. Ed Birkmeier Well Drilling Ltd and Geothermal Loop Pros LLC performed the installation.
Once the agricultural area for the former Traverse City State Hospital, Historic Barns Park is being redeveloped into a unique multi-use public park that will include space for agriculture, horticulture, recreation, education and community events. Capital improvements to the park are largely dependent on grants and fundraising, making the geothermal system an important part of both the park’s present and its future.
“Installation of the geothermal system is the first Energy Farm project in what we plan will be an ongoing series of innovative and beneficial energy demonstrations,” said Ross Biederman, chair of the Recreational Authority Board of Directors. “And the savings in energy use and costs will help keep the Barns sustainable as a community resource.”
For more information contact Matt Cowall, executive director of the Recreational Authority, at 231-929-3696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fundraising is ongoing for additional capital improvements to the park. Cowall noted that all donations at this time are being matched by another donor, currently doubling every dollar that is pledged to the Historic Barns Park and Botanic Garden campaign. Donations can be made through the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation at (231) 935-4066.