The Future Is Green: Geothermal Energy at the Belvedere

As part of the recent restoration of the Belvedere, the Conservancy sought to solve the problem of heating and cooling the Castle in a sustainable way.

Since it was first enclosed in 1919, water leakage has caused problems at the Castle. Poor drainage and waterproofing led to leaks and damage that worsened in the past few decades. It became necessary for the Conservancy to invest in waterproofing and internal drainage once and for all, to both repair the Castle and protect it over the long term.

After considering many options, the Conservancy chose a geothermal system as the best possible solution for two main reasons: it’s sustainable, and the Belvedere’s position atop Vista Rock made it optimal for a geothermal approach. With zero emissions, it’s environmentally conscious and aligns with the Conservancy’s mission to implement green design.

Illustrated diagram of the geothermal system installed in the renovation of Belvedere Castle

While the Belvedere now boasts a brand-new closed-loop geothermal system, you wouldn’t know it just by looking. All the action is underground—drilling rigs bored three 400-foot holes into Vista Rock, which now houses a piping system that uses the temperature of the earth to moderate the temperature of the Castle above.

At that great depth, the ground is consistently about 50-60 degrees. In the geothermal system, cool water moves down into the earth where it’s warmed and pumped back up to the building, and vice versa, depending on the season. A heat exchanger transfers the heat into the building’s air system—heating or cooling each room. The water recirculates through the ground so the process can be repeated.

The minimal equipment required to run the system enables a better experience for visitors who come to see firsthand how the Belvedere (Italian for “beautiful view”) got its name. Thanks to the comprehensive restoration of the Castle and the new geothermal system beneath its regal perch, the “beautiful view” has been preserved for generations to come.