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Geothermal Energy in New York

Do you have a bundle of money and want to give Geothermal energy a try in your home — well, not so fast. Alex Posner, a professional geologist for the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DCC) was the speaker at a Sierra Club Sustainability Event on Nov 20th. He gave an overview of a pilot City-driven projects to install Geothermal heating and cooling systems.

He detailed all the criteria that go into evaluating a potential geothermal site: New construction is most desirable and ample open space is a necessity. The NYC team found several NYC institutions that fit that bill: the Queens Botanic Garden, the Bronx Zoo, Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Childrens Museum. But even this team could not find a spot in Manhattan with enough open space for an experiment

Test borings are next to find out if the bedrock is right under neath or further down which might affect what system to use: Open Loop, Closed Loop or Standing Column Well.

Each system has its own pros and cons, different capacities and costs.

The NYC DCC team of geologists, engineers, hydrologists, and contractors installed those different systems in each of the five above mentioned sites. They described the whole process in a large tome titled “Geothermal Heat Pump Manual A Design and Installation Guide for New York City” that was available for free at the Sierra Club Sustainability meeting on Nov. 20.

The book includes a detailed assessment of geothermal systems, costs, design, installations, benefits, maintenance and even the permitting process for some large geothermal projects.