Achieve Greater Success Becoming a Geothermal HVAC Contractor

Episode 86

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with communities, governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Heating and cooling concerns about 1/3 of all greenhouse gas emissions. With the convergence of advanced clean energy technologies, the chance of being fossil fuel-free now appears!

In New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, more commonly known as the Climate Act, the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals have been turned into law. Did you know that it not only aims to achieve 40% reduction by 2030 and 85% by 2050,, but also envisions giving 35% of all benefits to communities that have been most disadvantaged by climate pollution?

We have been successfully moving towards our 2025 goals, and now, through NYS Clean Heat, we can take another step forward with heat pumps!

The entire world is heading down this road. Why not do it today and be ahead of the game? Anyone who gets into this program now is on the cutting edge, ahead of everyone else. With numerous incentives, this is undoubtedly what contractors (existing or new) need to grow in the geothermal space.

Check this episode as we engage in a conversation with people who can help you increase your profit, lower your competition, and make a positive impact with geothermal installations!

Featured Speakers:

Wendy MacPherson is the Assistant Director of Clean Heating and Cooling for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Wendy leads New York State’s efforts to develop markets that support renewable, high-efficiency, and clean thermal systems, including air-source, ground-source and water-source heat pumps. She is charged with conceptualizing & driving strategies to advance building electrification within New York State. 

Steve Coulter is the Clean Heat Program Manager at Con Edison. In coordination with the statewide New York State Clean Heat Program, Steve implements Con Edison’s heat pump incentive offerings – helping utility customers save energy and money with clean heating and cooling. Steve recently worked with Con Edison’s Non-Wires Solutions team where he developed customer-sided solutions to reduce electric peak demand on constrained areas of the distribution grid as alternatives to traditional utility capital projects. Prior to his work at Con Edison, Steve has been passionately engaged in a range of clean energy initiatives in previous roles at Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Business Council Institute.

Mike Seidenberg is the Owner of Eco Energy in Rochester, New York. 14 years ago, Mike left his job as a Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning technician to start his own HVAC company and specialize in geothermal heat pumps.

Maggie Seidenberg is a BPI Building Analyst & Owner of Energyvana LLC. Growing up around the HVAC industry under the wing of her Dad, Maggie was never a stranger to the changing tides of energy efficiency. After intending to study Biochemistry as a possible energy source, she saw that the very root of energy efficiency lies within the user. Her goal and success is helping New York State homeowners make a lasting impact that promotes a greener future – and a greener pocket!

Moderator:

Ron Kamen is the CEO of EarthKind Energy Consulting in Rhinebeck, New York. For decades, he’s been catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with governments, non-profits, and businesses through his expertise in the field. Ron hosts the AWESome EarthKind podcast and helps empower people to make clean energy transitions to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.

In this episode, Wendy, Steve, Mike, and Maggie join forces as they talk about the process on how a contractor can achieve greater success by becoming a Geothermal HVAC Contractor. Here, they discuss the Climate Act, the NYS Clean Heat Program Incentives, and answers questions with regards to geothermal installations and its benefit to you and the earth.

Valuable Resource:

Topics Covered:

  • 03:14 – Ron introduces himself and this web class’ speakers: Wendy MacPherson, Steve Coulter, Mike Seidenberg, and Maggie Seidenberg.
  • 08:40 – Wendy discusses New York State’s climate goals. Here, she highlights the Climate Act and the NYS Clean Heat alongside the reason behind the need to focus on heating and cooling.
  • 14:59 – Steve starts by introducing himself then proceeds to talk about the NYS Clean Heat Program Incentives, the opportunities, and the how-to’s of enrollment.
  • 26:50 – Father and daughter Mike and Maggie talk about their company and how their process keeps clients motivated in this transitioning movement towards a clean and green space.
  • 31:24 – Maggie explains how helpful the manual is in seeing and understanding what your house actually needs. Moreover, they discuss the advantage they put forward as they help train customers into effectively knowing how to approach their own geothermal space.
  • 36:19 – What are the certifications contractors need to plan about and have in order to be able to roll a product? Are there any upstate opportunities when you do the geothermal cycle?
  • 39:37 – Mike shares what they do with hot water then proceeds to talk about the equipments geothermal installers need to make their practice successful.
  • 42:40 – How long does it take for them to close a deal and finish the installation process? What is the difference between geothermal and air source heat pumps? What are the benefits?
  • 45:36 – Are there any additional license requirements imposed by the State? What are the challenges in insurance? What are the terms of warranties? Are there maintenance contracts?
  • 49:41 – Steve mentions the biggest incentive out there as people transition more into heat pump water heaters. Wendy talks about the best way to have that state support in trainings and the participation process a contractor needs to go through in order to apply.
  • 54:28 – Contractors are too busy with traditional business. They cannot expand their business with this limited work force. How could this be accomplished?
  • 56:14 – As we continue transitioning, we’ll later on need to change codes. What is Wendy’s take on this?
  • 58:40 – A quick summarization of the speakers’ stated points in today’s web class.

Valuable SuperNovas:

“There is no way New York State is going to meet these decarbonization goals with the current workforce installing heat pumps at the current pace. We need public and private sectors working together to drive this significant change. We need you to install heat pumps. We need you to be a part of the electrification revolution.” – Wendy MacPherson

“How do I become a successful geothermal contractor? Become a NYS Clean Heat Participating Contractor.” – Steve Coulter

“It is a good environment to sell on because you’re showing them that you care not only about their project but [also] their home, their comfort, everything that makes it up. It’s like a full body investment in a house.” – Maggie Seidenberg

“I’m pessimistic. I believe that everything is going to break someday, so it’s nice to have two sources of heat, which makes the customers happy when it does break.” – Mike Seidenberg

“There is nothing that is more important right now than building electrification.” – Wendy MacPherson

Connect:Wendy MacPherson: wendy.macpherson@nyserda.ny.gov

  • Steve Coulter: coulters@coned.com
  • Mike Seidenberg: mikes@ecoenergyny.com
  • Maggie Seidenberg: maggie@energyvanallc.com
  • Ron Kamen: ron@earthkindenergy.com

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