U.S. Bank and the Missouri University of Science and Technology have closed on more than $2.5 million of New Markets Tax Credit equity financing to support the construction of a geothermal heating and cooling system located on the university’s campus in Rolla.

When completed in 2014, the geothermal system will cut Missouri S&T’s annual energy use by 50 percent, cut water usage by 8 million gallons and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25,000 tons per year.

In 2010, the University of Missouri Board of Curators approved the plan for the project, which replaces the campus’ steam infrastructure with a ground source system and supplemental, natural gas boilers and chillers.

Construction on the project commenced in 2011. The project is being developed through an affiliated company of Missouri S&T.

U.S. Bank, through its St.Louis-based community development subsidiary U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), is committing more than $2.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit equity in partnership with Midwest Renewable Capital, based out of Grimes, Iowa. The project is also being funded through contributions from the project sponsor.

“We’re proud to partner with Missouri S&T and Midwest Renewable Capital to support the university’s geothermal system,” said Matt Philpott, director of New Markets, Historic and Renewable Energy Tax Credit Investments for USBCDC. “The project puts the university on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability and creates a unique learning opportunity for students.”

Students enrolled in environmental engineering and other degree programs at Missouri S&T will have opportunities for significant interaction with the system. It will also provide practical training opportunities for university student interns in the construction, operation and administration of the geothermal system.

“The system is one of the most comprehensive ever undertaken by a college or university,” noted Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader. “We’re excited about the impact it will have in reducing our ecological footprint.”

The geothermal system will eliminate Missouri S&T’s need to burn coal and woodchips, and will ultimately include the decommissioning of the campus’ coal and woodchip-fired power plant originally constructed in 1945.

The new geothermal plants will power up to 17 buildings, or two-thirds of the buildings on the university’s campus, with various uses including office, lab, classroom, student services and retail. The remaining one-third of buildings will utilize natural gas.