News Release


March 16, 2009

City of Boise, Boise State Announce Successful Geothermal Project Funding

Mayor David Bieter and Boise State University President Bob Kustra today announced successful funding of phase one of a project to extend the City’s current geothermal system to Boise State University. The project – which is expected to create or preserve more than 20 jobs over a six- to eight-month period – is part of the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill signed by President Obama on March 11.

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The $2,065,000 appropriation comes as a result of efforts by Congressman Mike Simpson, who secured more than $1.4 million through the Department of Energy, and Senator Mike Crapo, who secured $665,000 through the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the project.

“This project will create jobs, save money and provide a clean, renewable and efficient source of energy to Boise State for years to come,” Mayor Bieter said. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to Congressman Simpson and Senator Crapo for making this project a reality.”

“Geothermal heating encourages Boise State’s already strong commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainability and economic judiciousness,” Kustra said. “Another benefit is the hands-on research opportunities it affords for our students and faculty as we explore clean energy development. We thank the Idaho delegation, particularly Senator Crapo and Representative Simpson and the City of Boise for spearheading this project.”

“Expanding geothermal heating in Boise is an appropriate utilization of federal spending because it prioritizes and builds upon a successful example of the use of clean, renewable and natural energy prevalent here in Idaho,” said Senator Crapo. “This partnership will benefit both Idaho residents and students by keeping energy costs down, utilizing research at our universities and it underscores the proper expansion of alternative energy sources for our state.”

Phase one of the project will extend the downtown geothermal system across the Boise River at Capitol Boulevard and connect it to Boise State.

Boise State currently has five buildings ready to be retrofitted to accept geothermal heat for a total of more than 280,000 square feet of building space. The project is estimated to initially save Boise State more than $80,000 per year in heating costs, with additional savings as future buildings are added to the system. Two planned university buildings will be built with geothermal heating capabilities, and the University intends to include a geothermal component in future building projects. The City’s geothermal system is predicted to have the capacity to heat up to 2 million square feet of Boise State building facilities.

The City of Boise has operated a geothermal district heating system since 1983. Natural geothermal water hotter than 170 degrees is pumped from the ground near St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, distributed through the downtown area and re-injected into the geothermal aquifer near Julia Davis Park. The system currently serves 58 customers, heating approximately 3.8 million square feet of building space. Several buildings benefiting from this low-cost, environmentally-friendly heating source are publicly owned, including the Federal Courthouse, City Hall, Boise High School, Ada County Courthouse, and the Boise Centre on the Grove. In the course of a year, the system circulates more than 190 million gallons of water through approximately 13 miles of pipeline. The system was always envisioned and designed to serve Boise State University.

Phase two of the project will complete the geothermal loop by connecting the Boise State system back to the City system along Broadway Avenue. The City hopes to use federal stimulus money to fund phase two of the project.

Contacts: Adam Park – City of Boise, 384-4402 /;  Frank Zang – Boise State University, 426-5391 /


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Last reviewed on Monday, March 16, 2009