PSC Grants $2.5M for Community Geothermal Pilot Project at Barry Farm in Washington, DC

Nov. 3, 2023
The project will create 900 residential apartments, 40,000 sq ft of new retail/service uses, open space, and new public infrastructure

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) along with Brightcore Energy and Engenium Group have been selected by the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia for a $2.5 million grant to include a community geothermal system at the Barry Farm in Southeast Washington, DC.

Once complete, the project will create 40,000 sq ft of new retail/service uses, open space, and new public infrastructure. The project will also feature at least 900 new affordable rental and for-sale housing units, with 380 of the units being public housing replacement units.

It will not only support a large community heat pump system but also replace fossil fuel space conditioning systems, improve and modernize the district’s energy delivery system, and make advances in clean energy.

“We’re very excited to be a part of a project that encompasses many elements of sustainability from passive house design to, now, a geothermal system. This opportunity prioritizes resilient and sustainable building design with an emphasis on community impact that we are proud to support,” said Mike Richter, President of Brightcore Energy.

A community geothermal system provides energy efficiency, cost savings, sustainability, and operational efficiency. The Barry Farm development will benefit in the following ways with the grant:

  • Use less energy to transfer heat with the stable 50-60° F temperatures from the earth instead of air-cooled systems
  • Decrease power usage through geothermal condensing units by up to 35% as compared to air-cooled outdoor units
  • Increase heating capacities, lower refrigerant volumes, and eliminate the defrost cycles typically required in the winter seasons
  • Provide simultaneous heating and cooling throughout the buildings
  • Reduction of penetrations in the building envelopes, which is beneficial for projects seeking passive house certification
  • Less costly and reduced maintenance needs to manage the geothermal system as compared to a typical air-cooled system
  • Reduced construction costs due to the economy of scale of implementing this community level system