City Council says no to geothermal system


A proposal to install a more efficient heating and cooling system in Gaylord’s new emergency services building did not get enough support from the City Council last week.

Proposed was a geothermal heating and cooling system. It is considered an energy-efficient alternative to conventional heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of the relatively constant temperature below the earth’s surface.

A geothermal system in the new emergency services building was estimated to cost $46,700 more than the bid price on the entire project, according to Ian Sing of E.J. Pinske Builders.

Because the system is more efficient, Sing anticipated that the payback period would be less than ten years. Sing said he is confident in the system and says it is the current trend because of rising natural gas costs.

Council members questioned whether a more efficient system was necessary because the building would not be staffed at all times. Sing said the building would still have to maintain a temperature of at least 65-degrees to keep the diesel engines in the ambulances running.

Maintenance would be similar to a traditional heating and cooling system, according to Sing. It would involve changing filters and pumps. The life expectancy of a geothermal system is 20-25 years, Sing said. He also reported that there are grants available and possibly a rebate from the federal government for the installation of a geothermal system.

Council members Dale Breuer eventually made a motion to install the geothermal heating and cooling system in the new emergency services building. Jessica Uecker seconded the motion but Carl Wetzel, Pat Pinske and Brenda Pautsch were opposed.

E.J. Pinske Builders began work on the emergency services building earlier this summer. The building, which will house the Gaylord Ambulance Service and the Gaylord Police Department, will be completed this fall.