SBN Completes Geothermal Project and Receives Recognition

Earlier this year, South Bend International Airport (SBN) contracted with Griffen Plumbing and Heating, Inc. for the installation of a geothermal heating and air conditioning system in the terminal. This system replaced a traditional boiler system that was nearly 20 years old.

Geothermal heat pump systems are used to provide heating and cooling energy for facilities using the earth as an energy source. In the winter, energy is extracted from the earth for heat and in the summer the energy is rejected to the earth for cooling.

A vertical bore geothermal heat pump system was used for the project at SBN. 276 bore holes were drilled at the southern end of airport property, each extending 350 feet below grade. The system’s fluid mixture of 50% water and 50% propylene glycol travels a one mile loop from the field to the terminal and back.

“Projects like this are important to the greater community,” said Mike Daigle, SBN’s executive director. “Over $6.6 million in federal funds were used to create local jobs by utilizing a local contractor while reducing the carbon footprint of the airport.”

When the concourse was constructed in 2012, it was built on a geothermal system. Now, the entire facility is benefiting from geothermal technologies. The new system will reduce natural gas emissions by 3.8 million cubic feet per year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average household uses 103 million BTU of natural gas per year which is approximately 103,000 cubic feet. The reduction at SBN equates to the energy used by 38 households annually.

SBN was awarded an Airports Going Green Award honorable mention for the geothermal conversion project by the City of Chicago Department of Aviation at the Airports Going Green conference in October. This is a prestigious award that recognizes the value of each project and the outstanding leadership in pursuit of sustainability within the aviation industry.

About South Bend International Airport

South Bend International Airport’s three air carriers provide nonstop flights to ten cities:  Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York City/Newark, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, and Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg with connections world-wide. South Bend International’s multi-modal terminal serves over one million air, rail and bus passengers each year. According to the 2012 Economic Impact Report from the Aviation Authority of Indiana, South Bend International’s total annual economic impact on South Bend and surrounding communities was in excess of $1.7 billion.

For additional information, please refer to or get social with SBN on Facebook (, Twitter (@SBNairport) or Instagram (@SBNairport) to stay informed about the airport and the carriers that serve the Michiana region.

Posted in