Power of Earth Geothermal Heating – Ep 3 – Westchester New Home with Gibson Craig

Episode 43

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

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

Quantum Quote: “Anything that works for big buildings you can do for your house. It’s just a matter of scale” – Gibson Craig

“The Power of Earth, with Comfort” by ClimateMaster empowers homeowners with the knowledge of Geothermal – the most efficient (and environmentally sustainable) form of heating and cooling – as well as the utility and government incentives that make the transition financially smart.

Today’s program is with Westchester Homeowner Gibson Craig. “Gib” and his wife built a new home in Westchester, NY in 2017. They innovated and took advantage of developing technology to have a robust, insulated house that is heated and cooled with the power of the earth – and saw a 25% return on their investment.

Geothermal has been keeping consumers comfortable for more than 50 years, and can cut energy bills by up to 70% compared to traditional HVAC units. A 26 federal tax credit reduces the cost, and the local utility – ConEdison – provides both an up-front incentive – and a reduced electric rate.

Gibson Craig is Director of Preconstruction for a local developer of multi-family apartments.  He is involved in pre-planning, purchasing, and roll-out of major trades.

In this episode, Gib shares with us the considerations he and his wife made in deciding to install a geothermal heat source for their home, the opportunity for significant energy savings and comfort, and how government and utility incentives helped them in making their clean energy investment easier and seamless.

If you’re considering installing a GHP system for your home or business – here are the things you need to know about geothermal.

Sign up for a free webclass to discover how easy it is to get ultra-efficient geothermal heating and cooling installed in your home – without the pain of emptying your savings account.

In “The Power Of Earth with Comfort” From ClimateMaster a free webclass, you’ll discover the answers every homeowner needs to know, including:

  • How geothermal heating and cooling can draw energy from the ground beneath our feet (for pennies)
  • Why homeowners everywhere are making the switch.
  • The secrets to securing utility incentives and tax credits to pay for a large portion of your new geothermal system

and much more …

Why did you choose a geothermal (ground source) heat pump for your home?

“There was a generous federal tax credit at the time. That made the first cost almost the same While Geo still cost more, I had a payback of three or four years on the system. Now I have less bills, and less operating costs.”

What type of system did you install? Does it provide heating, cooling & hot water?

Closed-loop system that provides heating and cooling, and supplements our hot water in the summer months when the excess heat would be sent back into the ground.

How did you decide on geo vs. alternatives – and how did you choose the particular manufacturer & installers?

For equipment decisions, we relied on our installer’s recommendations.  We got bids from 3 or 4 HVAC contractors and we went with Bell HVAC.  Keith Bell (the owner) had a really great price, understood some of the complexities of our house and our goals to integrate a wood burning stove with the overall heating strategy.  On top of that, we could tell he was a genuinely good person.

How do you like the system? What do you like best about it?

Little to no maintenance, no oil deliveries, quiet, no combustion in our basement.  Which also means less risk of CO poisoning.  The last thing you want to think about is something breaking and it’s been great.

Did you have any problems with the decision process, incentives,  installation,  on-going operations, or maintenance?

Really not very many problems. Just learning experiences. When you build something new, you’re gonna learn.

Where there any lessons learned that you’d care to share? Anything you would do differently next time?

Wouldn’t really do much different. It was just a process. When you go on construction, the unexpected happens. And as long as you stay the course, you’ll get there. 

Recommendation. What are the biggest things people should do when they are evaluating their heating & cooling system options?

You should really think about this 100%, especially if you don’t have access to gas right in the street. If you don’t have access to gas, I’d say you definitely 100% should be sure to go to geothermal. If you have access to gas, it’s a little bit more of a question. But in the end, it would still pay for itself in time (especially with the utility and government incentives.)

What is your next step with your home? 

We are looking at Solar, we have a 100-foot tall ridge with tall trees on the south and west side of our home so the payback isn’t quite there without performing a logging operation.  With Covid going on, our next project will probably be building a small office studio in our side yard.

Best advice – “If you are afraid to fail, you will never succeed” and “The easiest thing to do in the world is pull the covers up over your head and go back to sleep.” 

Habits – “Getting up really early and going for a 20 or 30-minute jog in the morning before breakfast. Helps me disconnect, get exercise, and energizes me for the day.”

Internet source – The US Green Building Council (USGBC)

Book Recommendation: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things 

Magic Wand: Aside from the obvious answers of COVID being a thing of the past and political tensions being eased…I would say that cleaning up our oceans is a really important issue. Currently, more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic litter the ocean, which has a profound and devastating impact on ecosystems. The Ocean Cleanup is a very cool non-profit organization that’s dedicated to cleaning up 90% of ocean plastic pollution by the year 2040. They’ve also implemented a great solution that gives all the plastic they collect a new life by developing durable products out of the trash. You can purchase things like really cool sunglasses, and the profits pay for more trash to be removed from the ocean and re-used.

Most energized today – Upcoming company projects: Geothermal for multifamily. Geothermal often isn’t used in commercial buildings, as there are some logistical challenges with fitting (60) 500-foot wells under a parking garage that is 25′ below grade.  But these are the problems I enjoy participating in and finding solutions for. 

Piece of parting advice –  Stay healthy. Try not to catch the virus and keep good care of yourself

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