Skanska completes geothermal central energy plant at Wake Tech Community College

Press release 4/26/2024 7:00 AM EST

RALEIGH, NC – Skanska, a leading global construction and development firm, announces the completion of the state-of-the-art Central Energy Plant (CEP) located at Wake Tech East, the newest location of North Carolina’s largest community college. The 15,700-SF single-story facility will harness sustainable energy to heat and cool the entire new campus.

The CEP incorporates geothermal energy and solar power to achieve remarkable energy savings and efficiency. The impressive geothermal system features 297 wells at 500 feet deep and 297,000 feet of vertical piping, which translates to about 56 miles. The system is expected to use one-third less energy and emit 50% less carbon than traditional boiler/chiller setups. Additionally, 283 high-efficiency solar panels, capable of producing 160,956 kilowatt hours per year, are installed on the roof, enough to power 15 homes annually.

“This project represents a significant step towards a greener future for Wake Tech Community College and demonstrates its leadership in sustainable construction and energy management,” said Mark Balling, executive vice president responsible for Skanska’s North Carolina and Virginia building operations. “We're proud to have partnered with Wake Tech to bring this innovative project to life that showcases sustainable energy solutions while providing an exceptional learning environment for students."

Designed by HH Architecture, the CEP also features sustainable building materials, high-efficiency lighting, and natural daylight integration, as well as the use of low-volatile organic compound materials, solar site lighting and electric vehicle charging stations.

The project aligns with Wake Tech's commitment to sustainability and education, supporting various programs in mechanical engineering, electronics, robotics, biopharmaceuticals, and other fields. The facility also serves as a teaching space with classrooms where students can experience these advanced technologies firsthand.

Recognized for its environmental efforts, Wake Tech received the 2023 City of Raleigh Climate Action Award for the Central Energy Plant, which highlights its dedication to creating healthy and sustainable buildings. The facility also achieved a Four Green Globes® certification, the highest awarded by the Green Building Initiative, and was the first Four Green Globes project in North Carolina.

Skanska is leading the charge and has set an ambitious target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 in its operations and across its entire value chain. The interim target is a 70 percent reduction of carbon emissions from its own operations by 2030.