News : Student apartments save, in more ways than one, with geothermal

May 4, 2015

Originally published on

From the outside, the Rivers Edge Apartments, an off-campus student apartment building located on Main Street in downtown Durham, looks like other similar residences. However, the apartment building, on the north west side of the University of New Hampshire's campus is vastly different from other student apartments; Rivers Edge Apartments was the first campus building, and in Durham, to utilizes geothermal system technology for heating and cooling. It's an alternative energy source that provides the familiar comfort of traditional heating and cooling systems, according to Melissa Aho, president of Ultra Geothermal, Inc.

“Geothermal heating and cooling systems – also called geoexchange or ground-source heat pumps – provide all-season comfort by tapping the energy that is naturally stored in the earth,” Aho said. “This energy isn't just renewable: it's constant. Conventional furnaces burn fossil fuels, depleting precious resources and polluting the air. A geothermal system draws the earth's natural warmth into the home, through the use of a geothermal ground source heat pump.”

Jeff White, the original owner of Rivers Edge Apartments and general contractor for the apartment complex, decided he wanted the building to have a geothermal system, due to the green nature of geothermal and rising fuel costs.

“I really liked the idea of it being a green product itself,” White said. “I thought that would go over well with UNH and the college kids that were going to rent from me.”

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