Lausanne explores the geothermal option for its 2000-watt eco-disctrict


As one of the main axes of Lausanne’s large urban-planning project called Métamorphose, the Plaines-du-Loup eco-district, the construction of which is due to start in 2017 on a 34-hectare area, will have to comply with the requirements set in the energy concept “2000-watt society”. The eco-district will have to guarantee a low energy consumption and to give priority to renewable energy sources.

To meet the challenge, Lausanne’s industrial departments are actively seeking new renewable energy sources and explore the possibilities provided by geothermal energy, which is not so used in Switzerland yet but shows great potential.

With this view, a “deep-city” part was added to Lausanne’s Guiding Plan that now includes the depth of its underground.

Feasibility tests have just been conducted on 4 buildings and will allow the city to get a better knowledge of the site’s underground and of the drilling costs. For a better energy efficiency and to limit the number of probes, it was decided to dig down to 800m (whereas geothermal energy is in average 200m deep).

Increasing the depth of geothermal probes is an interesting option as it increases the efficiency of heat pumps and later reduce the need for electricity in producing heat.

This test process required a CHF171,000 investement loan and was entirely financed by the local Energy Efficiency Fund.

Lausanne is one of Energy Cities’ oldest members and one of the firsts to sign the Covenant of Mayors in 2008.

Image : DR Ville de Lausanne

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Author

Blandine Pidoux

Publication date

April 28, 2015