CAMP RIPLEY-Engineers from the state's Facilities Management Office Friday will finalize renovations on the Garrison Headquarter building at Camp Ripley.

The project, which began back in early 2015, replaces the less efficient, traditional boiler and rooftop cooling units with a geothermal system designed to reduce usage costs and improve the environmental footprint of the installation.

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"The project is to increase energy efficiency and work towards a net zero goal across the board," said Capt. Adam Stock, assistant operations officer for Camp Ripley.

The management team at Camp Ripley addresses environmental concerns for not only the 53,000 acre installation, but the Arden Hills Army Training Site, two Army aviation support facilities, eight field maintenance shops and 61 armories located in communities throughout Minnesota.

The sustainability initiatives put in place for these facilities across the state have helped the Minnesota National Guard become more resourceful economically and environmentally while meeting their federal, state and community missions.

"Any sustainable option for saving money and conserving resources, is a benefit to the National Guard; this will provide a greater opportunity to meet our full-time mission," said Stock.

This renovation idea is not new to Camp Ripley. Geothermal heating systems installed in troop billeting structures in late 2011, reduced energy consumption by 45 percent. Through 2014 and 2015, three additional buildings, were converted to geothermal energy with similar results.

"Geothermal is just one of our ventures being actioned," said Bob Jeffries, energy manager. "Energy efficiency improvements in existing buildings such as biomass and solar energy systems are continuing to be worked into our plan."

The upgrade to the garrison headquarters building involved the replacement of traditional 20-year-old systems that were becoming out-of-date within the next few years. The renovations covered nearly 60,000 square feet of space in all major departments of the building.

"Our geothermal field met dense rock below the surface, which caused us to build horizontally as opposed to vertically," added Jeffries.

The field built to sustain heating and cooling, in addition to the upgraded boiler, is spread out over an area the size of four football fields.