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April 27, 2023

Eversource to begin construction on Framingham geothermal pilot program

Photo | Courtesy of Google One of the customers signed up for Eversource's geothermal pilot program is the Framingham Housing Authority's homes on Normandy St.

A Framingham geothermal heating pilot program is inching closer to reality as New England utility company Eversource Energy expects to begin construction of its closed-loop project by the end of May.

If everything goes to plan, the project should be finished in time by next heating season, said Nikki Bruno, Eversource’s vice president for clean technologies.  

On Tuesday, the city council approved the grant of location petitions with Eversource, while agreements to drill the bore holes necessary to install the geothermal heat pumps should be done by May, said Framingham Chief Operating Officer Michael Tusino.

The project will connect approximately 150 customers and 40 buildings in Framingham to a  networked geothermal system to heat and cool their homes in the neighborhood north of Gleason Pond, between Concord St. and Flagg Dr. It will include residential homes, part of the Framingham Housing Authority property, businesses, and a fire station. To do this, Eversource will install wells, piping, and pumps to pull the earth's heat out of the ground to warm buildings in winter. In the summer, the system will push heat from buildings back into the ground to cool them.

The program is testing the feasibility of scaling geothermal heat pumps to replace or complement fossil fuel service for heating and cooling.

Eversource, which is headquartered in Boston and Hartford, began field work for the project in September, including drilling test boreholes. The utility company looked into the areas near the Framingham Housing Authority, Fire Station 5, and the Farley Building.

The utility has given some of the customers who chose to take part in the pilot a way to get out of the project if they’re not satisfied with the loop system, which includes turning back to existing service, the installation of an air source heat pump, or an individual geothermal heat pump if it can he installed, Bruno said.

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