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HomeEngineeringDistrict provides $2.5 million grant for Barry Farm development geothermal system

District provides $2.5 million grant for Barry Farm development geothermal system

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), in partnership with Brightcore Energy and Engenium Group, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant by District’s Public Service Commission to incorporate a community geothermal system at the future mixed-use, mixed-income Barry Farm development.

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

This is the first pilot project in Washington, DC to support a large community heat pump system, and aims to replace fossil fuel space conditioning systems, improve and modernize the District’s energy delivery system, and make strides in clean energy.

“By installing a community geothermal system, we are partnering with the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia in order to advance building electrification and create a more sustainable community,” Engenium president and managing principal Brandon Harwick said in a Nov. 1 statement.

“Geothermal is advanced and progressive – just like our District. By implementing this community geothermal system, we’re staying true to DC’s mission to work towards a more innovative and clean future.”

The developers assert the geothermal system will:

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

“At POAH, we recognize that managing the environmental footprint is a critical piece of the preservation mission said Deanna Savage, POAH’s vice-president for construction. “Reducing energy consumption saves money for both POAH and the residents in our communities and is key to providing durable, health and high-quality housing.”

Last September, POAH broke ground on the first building in its multi-phase development, the Asberry, a mixed-use building with 108 units of affordable rental senior (55+) housing and approximately 5,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.

This will be the first on-site building to be delivered under the New Communities Initiative at Barry Farm, a historically significant project for African Americans in Washington because the neighborhood was originally established in 1867 as the first African-American homeownership community in the District for newly freed slaves.

Once completed, the new overall redevelopment of Barry Farm will be a mixed-income community with at least 900 new affordable rental and for-sale housing units, of which 380 will be public housing replacement units.

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.

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