CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia is making strides in environmentally-friendly energy.

This is still in the testing phase, but the university hopes to make changes soon. 

UVA is helping its carbon footprint and doing it through Geo-exchange, a technique of storing water as a way to heat buildings.

Currently, UVA is undergoing the test phase, and it is drilling holes as deep as 1,000 feet.

As of now, UVA heats water using conventional fuels like coal, oil, and other fossil fuels in boiler plants.

Now it will pour hot water into the holes being drilled to see how long the soil can retain heat.

The hope is the university will be able to store this water and use it based on the seasonal needs. 

“The system at Fontaine, our initial system will be 500 to 600 percent more efficient than traditional combustion-based systems,” explained Paul Zmick, Director of Energy and Utilities at UVA.

This project has been done at other universities, and it has had a great impact on the environment. 

In UVA’s case, the university is using one trillion units of heat at the main plant.

“Right now, about 25 percent of that is from coal and the rest is from natural gas so there are about 200 million dekatherms of coal, which is about 10,000 tons, and 750,00 dekatherms of natural gas consumed,” Zmick said.

Right now, the university is still in the testing phases of this to see if it will work on Grounds. It will take days to determine if this project is doable at UVA. 

In the long run, if UVA is able to use Geo-exchange, it will save the university money, while also taking away some of its carbon emissions.