Eversource employees drilled test pits in Framingham fall 2022 in preparation for installing a neighborhood-wide geothermal system. Photo courtesy of Eversource

Boston officials announced a deal Thursday that will make one of the city’s public housing projects the first to get a green heating system.

The 129-unit Franklin Field complex in southwestern Dorchester will get a large geothermal heating system provided by National Grid, as part of the utility company’s Networked Geothermal Demonstration Program. Eversource is building a similar system for 40 residential and commercial buildings in Framingham.

Networked geothermal is a highly efficient renewable heating technology and source of energy that uses the ground temperature to provide heating and cooling to buildings through an underground piping network. The underground temperature serves as a heat source during winter and transfers indoor heat to the ground for cooling during the summer.

The technology has so far largely been deployed by institutional owners with long time horizons and significant open space under which to drill the wells necessary. One outlier has been drugmaker Moderna’s new Kendall Square headquarters, built by developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities, which uses 1.3 acres of open space behind the main structure to house the well field.

Mayor Michelle Wu and new Boston Housing Authority Administrator Kenzie Bok are trying to renovate the entire 12,000-unit BHA portfolio to remove all carbon-polluting heating and cooling systems by 2030. The Franklin Field project is being paid for with federal capital funding available to the BHA.

“Being the greenest city in America means that we will be best able to take care of not only the places we live, but the people we love,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We want to be a city where the benefits we are bringing when it comes to energy efficiency and green energy are not just around being able to check off boxes and hit goals, but that we are able to empower and support the people in our community who make it possible for Boston to do everything that we do. Every Boston family deserves a home that is affordable, safe and healthy.”

Boston Inks Deal to Make Dorchester Housing Carbon-Free

by James Sanna time to read: 1 min