Project Update: Green Up West Union…Community Energy Opportunities

Over the summer, project work continued on the city of West Union’s study of the public geothermal loop system or otherwise known as Green Up West Union (GUWU)…Community Energy Opportunities.

Energy planner and team lead, Joel Zook’s reports the team spent the last month gathering data and beginning to build relationships with community leaders, system users and potential users.

The project team assembled an updated database of existing and potential users, and a historical timeline of the Streetscape, Civic Plaza and geothermal system. In addition, MEP engineering conducted site visits to assess the operations of the main system and to begin diving into case studies on selected end users.

Several lighting and solar energy analyses were initiated at businesses including Napa Auto, the Fayette Union building, Tapt Out, Lauer & Lauer Insurance and the Chamber of Commerce.

GUWU Community Advisory Task Force

In early August, the Green Up West Union project 10+ community member advisory task force engaged in a “collective social learning process,” in which key historical data points, agreed upon facts and a vision of what success looks like were presented. Given the framework, the GUWU task force then spent some time discussing strategies for implementing the project. Specifically, they began a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s). The FAQ’s and their answers will be shared with the community. Some of the questions include topics such as:

  • How does geothermal technology work?
  • Why is this system in West Union?
  • Does the system make economic sense for the current users?
  • Will more users decrease the cost to existing users?
  • Is funding assistance available to potential new users?
  • What is the process for connecting to the geothermal system?
  • Will it save the user money in the long run?
  • Who could benefit from the geothermal system?
  • What is the user capacity of the system?
  • Who owns the system?
  • What does this project mean to the taxpayer?
  • Does the overall cost outweigh the benefits for users and the community at large?
  • What are the pitfalls to a shared geothermal system?
  • How can the community at large benefit from a shared geothermal system?

After the GUWU task force meeting Outreach Coordinator, Joleen Jansen observed, “The Green Up West Union Task Force is in consensus on what is ultimate success. Essentially, the dream is for the town to enjoy community wide economic prosperity and climate stewardship and to be a model for other rural communities.”

In the coming weeks, the gathered historical information, key facts, and FAQs will be available on the project website:, and on associated social media outlets. In the coming months, Green Up West Union will hold several stakeholder meetings public learning sessions.


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