The Future of Geo-Micro Districts: A Presentation and Q&A Featuring Audrey Schulman, Thursday, Jan. 23, 7 – 8:30 pm, Weston, MA

  • 23 January 2020 To 16 January 2020
  • Start time : 07:00 PM
  • End time : 08:30 PM
  • Event Location : First Parish Church in Weston, UU, 349 Boston Post Road, Weston, MA, 02493, United States
Geothermal Micro Districts
Event Description

The MetroWest Sustainability Forum presents:

The Future of Geo-Micro Districts:
A Presentation and Q&A

Featuring Audrey Schulman
Exec. Director of HEET in Cambridge

How local communities can replace aging, leak-prone gas pipes under our streets with interconnected street-segment geothermal systems scaled to meet the needs of various neighborhoods.

How can Massachusetts address the challenges presented by its leaky, aging and sometimes dangerous natural gas pipe systems while moving to a low carbon future?  One of the solutions is building and developing neighborhood Geo Micro-Districts, which use geothermal heating and cooling systems to support a neighborhood or district. 

Audrey Schulman is the Executive Director of HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Team) in Cambridge.  They recently published a technical study that examines the feasibility of replacing aging gas pipeline infrastructure with geothermal systems that meet the needs of neighborhoods, campuses and communities. This existing technology can be deployed to meet the energy needs of our Massachusetts homes and businesses while increasing safety, reducing cost, keeping workers in jobs, and meeting our carbon emissions targets.

Natural gas accounts for the majority of the energy use in Massachusetts. Yet more than a quarter of the gas pipes under Massachusetts streets are aging, and must be replaced over the next 20 years. This work will cost gas customers more than $9 billion.  An investment of this scale in fossil-fuel infrastructure is in direct opposition to the State’s mandate to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050.

The study by HEET looked at replacing aging gas infrastructure in Massachusetts with ground-source heat pump (GSHP) systems shared by buildings along a single street segment, or “Geo Micro-Districts.” As gas pipes are replaced, individual Geo Micro-Districts could interconnect to form increasingly larger and more efficient systems that could be managed by a thermal distribution utility.


The MetroWest Sustainability Forum is an ongoing regional speaker series that highlights and showcases significant practices, policies, and ideas that move our society towards a more sustainable, equitable, and low-carbon future.   It is a regional partnership of the Sustainable Weston Action Group (SWAG), First Parish Church in Weston, UU and the Weston Congregational Church. 

For more information, please contact:

  • Speakers / Presenters
    • Audrey Schulman is the co-founder and Executive Director of HEET in Cambridge.  An experienced grassroots activist, Audrey has performed energy assessments on everything from homeless shelters to historic churches. She has also led HEET’s work on gas leaks by mapping the utility-reported gas leaks across Massachusetts. With Metropolitan Area Planning Council, she led the study to find out how to fix gas leaks faster and at less expense through increased municipal/utility coordination.  She was also the instigator of the Large Volume Leak Study. Schulman is the author of five novels, which have been translated into 11 languages, and reviewed by the New Yorker and CNN.
  • Cost
    • FREE Event
  • Event type
    • Speaker(s)

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