Geothermal energy foundations will be installed this summer as part of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s (CEE) Hydrosystems Laboratory addition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Substantial completion of the entire renovation project is expected in the summer of 2020.
The heat-exchanger loops will be embedded in the foundation of the pedestrian bridge that will connect to NCEL. Using the 50-foot-deep shafts already being drilled for the foundation,
the project will reduce overall geothermal installation costs and provide for on-site research; it will also heat and cool the new instructional geotechnical laboratory in the building for Geotech Professor Tugce Baser.
During installation, Baser will instrument the drilled shafts with thermistors and strain gauges to measure axial and radial strains, as well as temperature profiles, within the foundations. The data set from this installation will enable the evaluation of operational thermomechanical properties. The outcomes of this project will be converted into design guidelines for future installation of energy foundations, which will significantly contribute to the sustainability of the campus.