Geothermal Systems Research


View of Newberry Volcano National Park, seen from a rock ledge. Phot includes view of crater lake.

Tocci connects Oregon geothermal research project to Monarch Lofts

We were excited to come across an interesting (and perhaps controversial) geothermal research project in Oregon, where researchers will attempt to tap into Newberry Volcano as a new Enhanced Geothermal Systems field. Although geothermal isn’t considered to be a widespread feasible technology, we are finding success with it on select projects.

From Monarch on the Merrimack’s Senior Project Manager VJ Tocci:

Tocci is actively utilizing geothermal heating and cooling at the Monarch on the Merrimack apartments. By drilling 14 separate wells, each 1500 feet deep, we are able to access water that is preheated naturally by the earth’s natural heat source and thereby provide temperature controls for a 400,000 SF, 200-unit apartment building.

Geothermal heat is a naturally occurring process where the Earth produces heat from the original formation of the planet, radioactive decay of minerals, and solar energy warming the earth’s crust.

The building is able to be conditioned by circulating this earthbound water source to heat exchangers and then to individual heat pumps at each apartment. The Earth maintains a 50-degree temperature on the tapped well water. The heat exchangers then mixes the well water with the water contained in a glychol loop (glychol is a chemical used to keep the water at a relatively controlled temperature) which circulates around the entire building. This loop is then able to be custom heated or cooled to each unit through a heat pump that separately services each apartment.

This system is an efficient method for utilizing both economic and environmentally aware solutions to supply comfort to hundreds of tenants.

The Monarch on the Merrimack is a remarkable project that is conserving materials both by its reuse of an enormous and functional antique building to create unique and dramatic living spaces, and by its state-of-the-art heating and cooling system to reduce its dependency on oil, gas, and electricity.

Header Image:
Newberry Volcano, OR
Credit: Tjflex2 (Permissions)