It sounds great for a city or state to stop adding natural gas to its energy mix but for certain applications that’s not easy – such as heating buildings. But there’s an interesting idea to create “GeoMicroDistricts”, sort of a microgrid except with hot water instead of electricity. GreenTech Media has a story (read it here) about an effort to do that in Boston with three pilots overseen by the utility Eversource:
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based nonprofit Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) advances a concept called the GeoMicroDistrict, which would see heat pumps in individual buildings transferring thermal energy between a shared district water loop and their own heating and cooling distribution systems. In such a system, gas companies could deliver thermal energy instead of gas — minus the carbon, says Audrey Schulman, HEET’s co-executive di
“Can gas companies change from just sending gas out in one direction through that gas tree to being able to manage thermal energy — bidirectional — in an efficient way through something as simple as water?” Schulman asks.
A nice touch is that the GeoMicroDistrict concept is available for use by interested parties under a Creative Commons license.