SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that geothermal technology will be used to replace the existing heating and cooling systems at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, a move that will reduce energy usage, improve efficiency, protect the historic tomb finishes, and increase comfort for nearly 375,000 people from around the world who visit the 16th President’s final resting place each year.
“This new system will help increase efficiency and save energy, as well as protect an important piece of our nation’s history,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The Lincoln Tomb geothermal project is one of the first to meet new energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly guidelines for state construction projects launched under Governor Blagojevich’s leadership. Gov. Blagojevich ordered the Capital Development Board (CDB) to develop guidelines that meet strict national “green” building standards, reduce the state’s energy usage, and make state buildings better for those who work in them and the area surrounding them.
This project has also earned a $25,000 energy efficiency grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The Foundation has supported more than 65 geothermal installations across Illinois through its grants.
“The geothermal system at Lincoln Tomb will both meet the Governor’s goals and effectively serve as a highly visible model for encouraging wider acceptance of this energy efficient technology as a cost-effective best practice in public and non-profit buildings,” said James E. Mann, executive director of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.
“Studies show that an investment of just two percent of a construction budget in green building methods and materials can yield an estimated 20 percent savings in energy costs over the life of a structure. Buildings constructed to green standards use less energy, provide healthier and more stimulating environments for occupants, are less harmful to the environment, and are less costly to operate over time,” said CDB Executive Director Jan Grimes.
Buildings consume 65 percent of our nation’s total electricity, emit 30 percent of our total greenhouse gases, and account for nearly 60 percent of total non-industrial waste in the United States.
Geothermal, or ground-source, energy takes advantage of the constant year-round underground temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Vertical pipe loops are buried about 300 feet underground and an antifreeze liquid is pumped through the pipes. In the summer, the liquid moves heat from the building into the ground. In the winter, it does the opposite. Heat pumps will be used at Lincoln Tomb to maximize the heating and cooling transfer within the building. No estimates are available about the projected energy savings the Tomb will experience with the geothermal system.
The pipes and wells for the geothermal system at Lincoln Tomb will be installed underneath the lawn on the south side of the Tomb. Once the infrastructure is installed, the grass will be replaced and visitors will have the same sweeping vista of Lincoln Tomb as they have since the structure was built in 1874.
The current heating and air conditioning system at Lincoln Tomb is a water source heat pump system that was last upgraded in the early 1990s but is now past its expected life span. Utility, maintenance and repair costs for a system of this age continue to increase. The existing cooling tower, located within an unsightly fenced enclosure northwest of the Tomb, will be removed once the geothermal system is installed.
“Lincoln Tomb is perhaps the most revered of the nation’s Lincoln sites and will be one of the focal points of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial. Oak Ridge Cemetery is surpassed only by Arlington National Cemetery as the nation’s most visited burial ground, and this new climate control system in our 16th President’s final resting place will allow the Tomb to keep welcoming visitors from every part of the globe,” said Robert Coomer, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), which administers Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of his four sons – Eddie, William (Willie) and Thomas (Tad). It was built entirely with public donations and was completed in 1874.
The Green Building Guidelines for State Construction, developed by the Illinois Green Building Advisory Committee in concert with CDB, mandate that all new state-funded building construction and major renovations of existing state-owned facilities are required to meet current Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards that are practical for that project. The guidelines and members of the Advisory Committee may be found at CDB’s Web site, www.cdb.state.il.us
Exciting new technologies combined with traditional solutions may be seen in future state building projects under the new guidelines. These could include geothermal climate control systems, roofs made of heat-reducing white material or covered with live vegetation (“white” and “green” roofs), photovoltaic systems to produce electricity, the use of recycled materials, no-water landscaping, and allergen-reducing ventilation and interior finishes.
Under the Green Building Guidelines, the following Illinois specific goals will apply to every project: There will be no development on prime farmland; water use will be reduced by at least 20 percent through the use of high-efficiency fixtures; and energy performance will be improved by set percentages on new and existing buildings. Other guidelines will also apply to specific projects.
Several state-funded building projects already underway or planned incorporate the new Green Building Guidelines. These include the recently-completed Workforce Development Center at Heartland Community College in Bloomington; the Integrated Bio-Processing Laboratory and Lincoln Hall at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the Transportation Education Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale; the Performing Arts Center on the Macomb campus and the Quad Cities Riverfront Campus of Western Illinois University; the Truman College Student Services Center in Chicago; and the replacement of the William G. Stratton office building in Springfield. Many of these projects are funded in the Illinois Works capital construction bill that has passed the Senate and awaits approval by the Illinois House of Representatives.
Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation in 2005 that required CDB to spearhead the growth of green building methods throughout the state. The law was sponsored by Sen. John Cullerton of Chicago and Rep. Dave Winters of Shirland. It required CDB to identify at least three state construction projects to serve as case studies in the use of “green” principles, to organize a series of Green Building workshops across the state, and to form the Green Building Advisory Committee.
Over its 7 year life, Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has awarded 2600 grants totaling more than $140 million to support energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural areas conservation projects throughout Illinois. To find out more about the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, check out their Web site at www.illinoiscleanenergy.org