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Trustees Consider Geothermal Heating and Cooling System in Design Phase of Glencoe Golf Club Project

As plans for the upcoming and long-anticipated renovation of the clubhouse on the Glencoe Golf Club come together, representatives from the club are searching for feedback on how one can proceed with the constructing’s HVAC systems.

The Glencoe Board of Trustees heard an update on the golf club from general manager Stella Nanos through the board’s regular meeting on Thursday, March 21.

Plans to renovate the clubhouse have been underway since April 2023, when Glencoe voters approved a referendum allowing the Village to make use of as much as $15 million in bond sales to fund the project.

Nanos previously told the board that the clubhouse remains to be in its original constructing on the 101-year-old golf course and surpassed its useful life in 2012.

At Thursday’s meeting, Nanos said the schematic design phase is finished and the project is currently within the design development phase.

“We’ve got reviewed 3D interior design renderings in addition to exterior elevations that follow the direction of the ad-hoc design review committee,” she said. “Square footage and seating counts have been established and staff is working on design plans for the kitchen, event space, the principal dining area, bar, pro shop, offices and simulators.”

Nanos said construction is predicted to start near the top of the present golf season and, if all goes as planned, will last for a 12 months.

She added that discussions are underway regarding “various features of the project,” including sustainability initiatives and the HVAC system.

Those discussions led Nanos to ask the board about their interest in pursuing a geothermal HVAC system for the clubhouse.

“It’s a sustainable option that reduces reliance on fossil fuels and has a lower environmental impact in comparison with traditional systems,” she said. “Geothermal also has fewer moving parts and might be more durable than conventional systems, resulting in lower maintenance costs extra time.”

While she said it would result in lower maintenance costs, geothermal systems even have a “significant upfront cost.” She estimated the price to be between $350,000 and $400,000, which is “attributable to the necessity for drilling and installing a ground loop of pipes.”

At the identical time, Nanos said “the (return on investment) is comparatively quick, estimated to be 7-10 years attributable to the large savings on energy costs and maintenance costs.”

Village Manager Phil Kiraly said District 35 schools have installed geothermal systems and have either already reached their ROI or are approaching it.

“They’ve been very blissful with these installations,” he said.

Kiraly also said that while the installation cost is high, “with a 7-10 12 months return on that investment after which perpetual from there, the energy savings is pretty dramatic, and so it’s compelling.”

Village President Howard Roin said that he likes the thought of putting in geothermal, but said ensuring the Village has money to pay for it’s his biggest concern.

“We’re going to have a greater constructing, and it’ll be a greater investment for the community in the long term, plus it’s bottling what we would like bottled, which is sustainability,” he said. “So, for all of those reasons, we’re going to need to be certain that we’ve got the cash. We don’t get to print it in Glencoe.”

Trustee Gary Ruben said he was on the D35 School Board when the choice was made to put in geothermal, and he believes it’s an option the golf club should pursue.

“I believe that is one where it’s just a great investment together with it being a great example to the community of how we do treat sustainability very seriously,” he said.

Trustee Dudley Onderdonk asked if there have been any alternative options to geothermal which might be still sustainable, which Kiraly said was something he would look into.

With no trustees voicing objection, Roin asked staff to proceed investigating geothermal and any potential alternatives.

“We’re interested,” he said. “It looks like it might be the smart move.”

Kiraly said he can have an updated report for trustees on the board’s April meeting.

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