Warren Lloyd argues that his job is not to promote but advise people on the latest building technology. But like it or not, he is proving through super-sized geothermal systems that sustainable air-handling can generate cold cash.

Photo: Tudor Van Hampton/ENR
Geothermal initially costs more but has long-term paybacks.

A health-care owner recently took Lloyd up on his idea to build the nation’s largest geothermal pond for a $310-million replacement hospital in Elgin, Ill. Administrators were skeptical at first. But the vice president of Rock Island, Ill.-based KJWW Engineering Consultants in 2000 already had proven out the nation’s second-largest lake loop at the Great River Medical Center in West Burlington, Iowa.


He made the case for hospital owners to go green and save big bucks by proving out largescale, geothermal heat exchangers.

Since then, Lloyd has gained notoriety as an objective green adviser, rather than a green salesman. He says the next frontier is cleaner power: “Right now, we are squeezing the blood out of energy. You theoretically can’t go up unless you have a system that produces power on site.”

Sherman’s hospital is as energy-efficient as it can get. Scheduled for completion in 2010, the building’s 175 underwater heat exchangers are expected to save at least $1 million in energy costs annually. With a payback of six to seven years, the owner says, “it just made sense.”