See how a geothermal system is expected to lower energy costs and carbon footprint for the University of Nebraska

by Brianna Crandall — November 20, 2019 — Construction activities have begun to build the geothermal system that will heat and cool the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Business addition. This system is intended to benefit UNO and its College of Business by lowering operating costs through the use of this sustainable energy practice.

Mammel Hall

Mammel Hall’s sustainable geothermal system will help the university achieve carbon intensity and financial reduction goals for many years to come. Rendering by Holland Basham Architects

Drilling and geopier foundations both started on October 31 for a 42,000-square-foot addition of Mammel Hall. Omaha Public Power District and The Weitz Company are coordinating work to deliver the geothermal system. OPPD is responsible for the exterior well field installation, and Weitz will oversee the interior building installations.

John Quade, senior account executive at OPPD, stated:

Omaha Public Power District is excited to partner with UNO and Weitz to bring an energy service option that will help the university achieve carbon intensity and financial reduction goals for many years to come.

Mid America Drilling, a subcontractor of OPPD, is performing the geothermal drilling, and Peterson Contractors is installing the geopier foundations. The geopiers will take approximately two weeks to complete. Weather permitting, drilling is expected to conclude in December to finish the geothermal well field installation.

Once the well field installation is complete, Weitz and Morrissey Engineering will coordinate and schedule activities to tie the geothermal systems into the building’s interior mechanical systems. Project occupancy is scheduled for January 2021, and the entire project is scheduled for completion in April 2021.

Certified LEED Gold when originally built in 2010, Mammel Hall will become the third University of Nebraska at Omaha facility (and eighth University of Nebraska system building) to have a geothermal system. UNO’s on-campus Parking Services and off-campus Glacier Creek Preserve buildings also use the earth as a heat source and heat sink.

Louis Pol, dean emeritus of the College of Business Administration, commented:

We have a wonderful opportunity to do the right thing. Adding a geothermal system makes perfect sense, especially for a building with a 75-year life expectancy.

Mammel Hall’s new wing will add six classrooms, four seminar rooms, a newly designed and expanded Koraleski Commerce and Applied Behavioral Lab, and a 180-person general-purpose room. Equipped with cutting-edge technology to be a cloud-reliant building, the expanded space will also be home to the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s new School of Accounting, CBA Scholars Academy and Entrepreneurship Lab.