Suffolk has become the first county in New York State to adopt a model building code for highly efficient geothermal cooling and heating systems. The code is modeled in part on one already in place ...
Suffolk County, NY - November 22nd, 2014 - Suffolk has become the first county in New York State to adopt a model building code for highly efficient geothermal cooling and heating systems. The code is modeled in part on one already in place in the Town of Brookhaven.
Officials at a Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization conference in Ronkonkoma said Thursday that the code, if widely adopted by towns and villages, would help set standards for installation and environmental protection, and reduce red tape that can slow down work. The code was adopted by the Suffolk Planning Commission several weeks ago and announced Thursday.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said an increased number of geothermal installations could help "reduce significant impacts in the environment and grow economic benefits to our region."
Planning commission chairman David Calone, who led the county's adoption of a solar code three years ago, said the geothermal code would set best practices for installations, including safeguarding groundwater.
Geothermal systems tap into the stable subsurface temperatures of the Earth to cool and heat homes and buildings through pipes placed deep underground. The systems also are used to heat water.
At the conference, installer Rich Pandolfi of PGI Corp. showed how a geothermal system combined with a solar array could fully power and cool a 6,000-square-foot sparkling wine warehouse in Southold to reduce its electric bill to an average $10 a month. The system paid for itself in around a year, Pandolfi said.
John Franceschina, a PSEG Long Island residential energy manager and president of the geothermal organization, said about 2,000 systems have been installed on Long Island, mostly in homes. Six companies install the systems full time and another 20 do so as part of their operations. He expects that to grow and said, " This code will contribute . . . it will put contractors, engineers and inspectors on the same page."
Home geothermal systems cost around $30,000. PSEG offers rebates of about $3,000 on standard systems, and a federal tax credit can cut the cost by another $10,000, said PSEG renewables director Mike Voltz.