In the fall of 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, an initiative that would be spearheaded via the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. According to a recent press release found on Business Wire, “Through an increased reliance on renewable energy sources, the Mayor has set forth the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% before 2050,” of Mayor de Blasio’s goal. One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is by implementing geothermal systems in local buildings, and Trevor Day School just became the first institution in NYC to do so.

Geothermal Energy

Trevor Day School, located in Manhattan, is an independent pre-K through Grade 12 day school that “deploys inquiry-based learning to invoke each student’s good genius – the innate ability inside every child to thrive wholly through inquiry and intellectual courage.” It is considered to be one of the most prestigious New York day schools, and is supported by a Board of Trustees that is led by President Sally Rocker and Vice President MaryKay Coyle, as well as other prominent members. Its progressive, “inquiry-based” approach makes it a great place for fostering a love of learning in young students, and also makes it a perfect setting to welcome the city’s first geothermic building.

According to a news release from Trevor Day School, “Geothermal energy – heat energy from the earth – is not only cost-effective, but also sustainable, reliable, and a limitless educational tool.” When the school opened its newest building in late May, it became not only the first educational institutional in NYC to implement this environmentally-conscious method of heating and cooling, but the first on the entire East Coast to embrace geothermal energy. Trevor Day School’s geothermal building is being heralded as “nothing short of remarkable,” and is the first institution in NYC to contribute to Mayor de Blasio’s ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the things that makes harnessing geothermal energy such a sustainable practice is just how easy it is to be found. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), “Heat from the earth can be used as an energy source in many ways, from large and complex power stations to small and relatively simple pumping systems. This heat energy, known as geothermal energy, can be found almost anywhere—as far away as remote deep wells in Indonesia and as close as the dirt in our backyards.” UCS echoes Trevor Day School by pointing to the cost-effectiveness and sustainability as benefits geothermal energy systems offer.

Despite all of the benefits of geothermal energy systems, it is still widely underutilized and is only now gaining popularity in the United States. As more institutions like NYC’s Trevor Day School embrace this environmentally-sustainable energy system and implement it in new buildings, greenhouse gas emissions will hopefully be reduced in many cities across the country.