Winnetka Park District Is Drilling For Energy, Not “Black Gold”
As construction has gotten underway in front of the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center, many casual observers have noticed the large drilling rigs. Drilling for oil is not part of the Skokie Playfield Master Plan, however, it represents the Park District’s “green initiative” to pursue geothermal energy at the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center.
Geothermal energy is the draw of renewable energy from the earth’s core. To take advantage of this source, the Park District will drill to a depth of approximately 500 feet to tap into that energy. The energy will then be piped up to the surface to be harnessed as an alternative source for heating and cooling of the Tennis Center.
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“It’s a pretty simple idea when you get down to it; use the capacity of the earth to heat and cool. It’s free and there are no greenhouse gases, no environmental impact, and it will work regardless of the weather we experience at ground level. The Park District Board felt it was the ideal application as more and more schools, universities, and public entities incorporate geothermal into new buildings. Many indoor ice rinks have gone to geothermal to cool the rink floor. Additionally, it will improve operating expenses by reducing the need for both electricity and natural gas. A grant with the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has been submitted to offset some of the capital expense.” added Tom Gullen, Superintendent of Facilities for the Winnetka Park District.