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Empire Transportation Facility Geothermal System

The geothermal system at the Empire Transportation Fleet Storage Building was complete and operational in fall 2010. Through a series of 64 wells, the geothermal system heats and cools the building using the temperature in the ground.  The ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. The geothermal system takes advantage of the temperature difference by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger. Using a geothermal system to heat and cool the building has several benefits:

  • Uses 25–50% less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems.
  • Reduces dependency on natural gas.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. 
  • Decreases maintenance costs with in floor radiant heat (no belts or air filters).


In addition to the geothermal system, other energy efficiency features of the building include:

  • Additional insulation in the roof and walls
  • Translucent wall panels for maximum day lighting
  • In floor radiant heating
  • LED light fixtures


In 2011, Xcel Energy recognized the Empire Fleet storage building be the “most energy efficient building constructed over 50,000 square feet” in Xcel Energy’s territory in the State of Minnesota.

Last updated: 11/12/2012 10:23 AM