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Tuesday, May 13th, 2008 -- 12:06 PM

A new residential/commercial development just north of Marshfield features what's believed to be the largest geothermal lake in the Midwest.

The 100-acre Prairie Run development has a manmade 5-acre lake.
It's not just nice to look at according to Dan Helwig, one of four owner/developers.

"All ground has energy for both heating and cooling and one of the most efficient geothermal sources we have is water," Helwig explains, "Because of the conductents of water, you can get great energy transfer."

About one acre of the lake is 20-feet deep. From that area, heat is extracted, the heat molecules are compressed and turned into energy to heat the development's buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer.

And, it's been working.

"We had our first occupier who's been there for the entire 2007 year?all of their utilities for heating and cooling for all of last season was $1,575, and that was a 3,000-square foot unit," Helwig notes.

While much has been made of the "green revolution" lately, Helwig says it's nothing new. He remembers past energy crunches and the progress toward efficiency that was made because of them.

"For about 20 years, energy costs were so reasonable, we didn't have a need to do that," Helwig reasons, "Today, we are looking at those kinds of things."

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