You are here

Geothermal at the Campus Instructional Facility (CIF) (Completed)



The Campus Instructional Facility (CIF) building is a four-story building dedicated to academic and classroom use, located on campus, west of the Grainger Engineering Library and north of Talbot Laboratory. The geothermal exchange borefield is located in the northwest corner of the Bardeen Quad. The optimized geothermal exchange system will supply the CIF building with approximately 135 tons of heating and cooling capacity, equivalent to almost 65% of the total building energy demand. Based on the thermal properties and monitoring results from the temperature monitoring system, the geothermal exchange system was installed with 40 wells that are 6.1 m (20.0 ft) apart and drilled to a depth of 137.2 m (450.0 ft). The geothermal energy system was activated in January 2021.

The geothermal exchange system is designed to operate for more than 25 years, possibly more than 50 years. The geothermal exchange system will save $45,000 per year in operating the heating and cooling system at the CIF, and projected to be $1.35 million over 30 years of operation.  Performing the thermo-hydro-mechanical analyses and installing the temperature monitoring system, reduced the number of wells needed in the borefield from 60 to 40, which reduced the project payback period from 40 to 28 years (realized through savings in drilling and constructing a larger geothermal borefield). Without these savings, the geothermal exchange system would not have been feasible. 


The Student Sustainability Committee provided approximately 13% of the cost of the geothermal system, and this building project is the first public-private partnership on campus. As the campus works towards being carbon neutral by 2050, this project will not only reduce UIUC’s reliance on fossil fuels, but pave the way for new construction projects to use geothermal systems on campus.

No description has been provided yet.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Qu Kim

    Team Members:

    • Mohamed Attalla
    • Clarence Odom
    • Morgan White
    • Yu-Feng Lin
    • Andrew Stumpf
    • Doug Reddington

    Prior Contacts:

    • Dr. Liang Liu
    • Matthew Tomaszewski


  • Proposed by Scott Willenbrock and Morgan White
    Started September 1, 2019
    Completed March 1, 2021


Project Location(s)

This map is interactive! Click (or touch) and drag to pan; scroll (or pinch) to zoom.

View larger location(s) map