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The Town of Arlington has won a $50,000 grant to evaluate potential sites for a networked geothermal project, according to a news release from the town's Department of Planning and Community Development.

Arlington is one of 13 towns selected by the nonprofit organization Home Energy Efficiency Team to participate in the Kickstart Massachusetts grant, both to evaluate potential sites for a project and to conduct community education around the benefits of networked geothermal systems. The grant is supported by funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

The intent of the Kickstart Massachusetts grant is to identify shovel-ready geothermal projects that can leverage additional grant funds to scale this climate-friendly technology across the state.

The project will kick off this spring and is expected to be complete at the end of 2024, town officials say.

Networked geothermal systems provide highly efficient heating and cooling without burning fossil fuels in buildings, experts say. They rely on heat pumps connected to water-filled pipes under the street and wells 600 feet deep in the ground, where the temperature is constant. Networking several buildings together on a single geothermal system provides greater efficiency because some buildings can use the heat that other buildings may be shedding.

East Arlington proposed as location

The proposed location of the networked geothermal system is an area of East Arlington that includes the Thompson Elementary School, the Arlington Housing Authority’s Menotomy Manor development and surrounding residences. The project team selected this area because a networked geothermal project there could potentially reduce the cost of utilities and enhance building-occupant comfort in a neighborhood with a generally higher proportion of lower-income and/or minority residents.

The town plans to use the funds to hire a consulting firm that will assess the feasibility of a geothermal project in the area, as well as to support planned outreach and education in the neighborhood and broader community.

“We are proud to continue our leadership on climate change mitigation in the state with the receipt of the Kickstart Massachusetts grant,” Town Manager Jim Feeney was quoted as saying. “Networked geothermal technology presents an exciting opportunity to reduce utility bills, save energy and enhance comfort for residents, all while getting us closer to our greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

This news announcement was published Thursday, March 7, 2024, based on a news release from the Town of Arlington's Department of Planning and Community Development.