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Construction has started at the former Bingham school in Bristol, CT, and once it’s complete, the former school will be affordable apartments for Connecticut’s growing senior citizen population. The same is planned for the former O’Connell school, also in Bristol. The plans for the former schools’ conversion to senior apartments were developed by Bristol Enterprises. The entity is a unique public-private partnership between private developer Park Lane Group in Litchfield, CT, and the Maynard Road Corporation, the non-profit development entity wholly owned by the Meriden Housing Authority.

Another unique aspect of the schools’ redevelopment is that both buildings will feature several energy saving systems including geothermal HVAC, solar PV, and co-generation units. The energy systems will help keep rents low for the senior population the buildings will serve, and reduce the environmental footprint of the buildings.

The energy systems are being developed and implemented by Advanced Energy Group (AEG) and Private Energy Partners (PEP), in conjunction with Geothermal Innovations (GI), PurePoint Energy, and others. The installation of the vertical geothermal pipe began in late April, and is also serving as a training opportunity for several individuals from Connecticut, New York, and other locations to learn the installation process of GI’s patented GI4 pipe that was designed to greatly reduce the amount of wells needed to be drilled for a geothermal installation, which in turn reduces the costs.

Trainees will also be taking a course to become certified geothermal installers by the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), which is the gold standard in terms of ground source heat pump technology, research, and implementation. The purpose of getting the trainees IGSHPA certified is that these individuals can learn the process of installing geothermal, and eventually be able to lead their own crews during an installation.

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