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Project Experience: Manchester Airport Geothermal Heating and Cooling Project, New Hampshire

The Challenge

The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport was interested in exploring the opportunity of obtaining funding from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Voluntary Airport Low Emissions Program (VALE) to construct a geothermal heating and cooling system to replace the existing natural gas fired system. The Airport hired HMMH to help it develop the project concept, and prepare and submit a VALE application to the FAA.

The Strategy

HMMH worked with airport staff to develop the project concept for a geothermal project. The Airport engaged the services of a geotechnical team to prepare an initial system design to accommodate the energy demands of the terminal. The design team proposed a system that would be sized to meet the cooling load of the building with excess waste heat deployed as radiant heating of the airport apron. HMMH modeled the emissions reductions that would result from building the project and approached the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) to discuss Air Emission Reductions Credits (AERCs) that the state would issue to the airport for the project. NHDES agreed to provide a letter of assurance that it would issue AERCs to the airport. HMMH also prepared the draft project proposal to the FAA and NHDES for approval using the cost estimates provided by the design team.

The Solution

With only three previous geothermal projects funded by VALE and none proposed as a retrofit to an existing airport terminal, the grant proposal was subject to new policy decisions at the FAA. The Airport decided not to proceed with the VALE application.