22.01.2018 - UNESCO Venice Office

Ground Source Heat Exchangers innovative solution for sustainable energy soon to be applied in Croatia

Zeljko Kovacic - Building of the geothermal installation control room in the courtyard of the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla

The Technical Museum Nikola Tesla in Zagreb, Croatia, will be the beneficiary of an upcoming innovative shallow geothermal system, sponsored by the H2020 project Cheap-GSHPs - Cheap and Efficient Application of reliable Ground Source Heat Exchangers and Pumps. The management authorities of the museum, in cooperation with the municipality of Zagreb, are committed to replacing the heating system based on highly consuming, undersized and expensive electric heaters and strengthening the educational capacity on sustainable energy of the museum.

UNESCO believes that museums are places for the transmission of scientific knowledge, the development of educational policy, and laboratories of self-sustainability in line with the “Recommendation concerning the Protection and the Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society”, approved by the UNESCO General Conference on 20 November 2015.

In this context, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe is participating in the European Union H2020 project entitled Cheap-GSHPs (Cheap and Efficient Application of reliable Ground Source Heat Exchangers), altogether with the Italian National Research Council, the Institute of Atmosphere Sciences and Climate and other partners.

The project benefits from the strong support (including financial) of the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla in Zagreb (Croatia), the chosen demonstration site and from the assistance of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Zagreb.

The project has progressed from the preliminary assessment and planning phase to a full-fledged operationalisation. The main goal is to show how sustainable energy based on an innovative shallow geothermal power system is applicable to listed buildings, case in point the large exposition room of the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla of Zagreb. 

Additional important targets are the lowering of heating and cooling costs, curbing CO2 emissions, promoting education for sustainable development towards a broad public of visitors, in particular youngsters. The latter are the most frequent visitors since their teachers of scientific disciplines organise regularly educational visits to the museum’s technological collection.

Thanks to the Cheap-GSHPs project, the museum will be able to display its geothermal system, along with all its main components as one additional and running piece of the collection, becoming a structural component of the educational/awareness activities in the section devoted to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Its educational function will be further enhanced by the permanent presence of the geothermal installation control room, currently under construction, located in the main yard. The room’s concept is in line with the overall architectural style of the museum premises and inspired by relevant models of reference from the 40s of architects such as Mies Van Der Rohe and Philip Johnson.

The entire geothermal facility, whose launch is foreseen in March 2018, will hopefully build awareness to sustainable energy and a renewed interest to natural sciences and their societal applications in the mind of the young generations of visitors.

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UNESCO, through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), joined a consortium of partners coordinated by the Italian National Research Council (CNR-ISAC) for the project “Cheap and Efficient Application of reliable Ground Source Heat exchangers and Pumps” (Cheap-GSHPs).

The Cheap-GSHPs project is funded by the European Union in the framework of “Horizon 2020”, call LCE-03-2014, under the technology-specific challenges in demonstrating renewable electricity and heating/cooling technologies. The lifetime of the project is 4 years, up to June 2019.




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