Asbury Place Taps Into Geothermal Energy

With its rolling hills and putting greens, Asbury Place in Maryville is surrounded by the color of nature. Now, the continuing care retirement community is going green below the water surface by utilizing geothermal energy in its new apartment complex.

The environmentally friendly heating and cooling system will supply energy to one side of a cottage duplex, a new residential option on the retirement community campus in Blount County. The system uses a network of underwater pipes installed in the campus lake, St. Clair Lake, that capitalize on the water temperature (as warmed by the sun) to provide heating in the winter and uses the water as a heat sink to cool in the summer.

Bernie Bowman, Asbury’s Vice President of Business Development, said tapping into renewable energy has many benefits for the community.

"We are using the geothermal energy system for one half of the duplex, with the other half using a conventional heating and cooling system. This will provide very accurate comparisons of the utility savings," he said.

By not burning fossil fuels to generate heat, geothermal energy leads to a cost savings for the consumer and a reduction in carbon footprint for the environment, said Gordy Noe, president of Pioneer Heating and Air Conditioning. "While as a not-for-profit Asbury cannot take advantage of tax savings, it will benefit in lower utility costs and in lower upkeep costs over time."

This cottage duplex is being constructed along with the St. Clair Apartment homes complex, a 36-unit, $12 million project to be completed by August 2012. The cottage duplex is a 1,620-square-foot unit with two bedrooms, plus a den. The St. Clair buildings offer one-, two- and two-bedroom-with-den floor plans. Along with these new residential living options, the Asbury Place Maryville campus has already completed a new clubhouse with a wellness center and bistro.

Founded in 1956, Asbury, Inc. manages a network of not-for-profit retirement communities and health care centers for individuals 55 or better in Maryville, Kingsport, and Johnson City, Tennessee. With a not-for-profit mission of "Senior Communities providing security and freedom with compassion," Asbury has renovation and expansion projects underway at all of its campuses, positioning it to provide for the rapid growth of the aging population expected over the next several years.