diagram of geothermal heating equipmentIn 2016, the discussion around clean and renewable sources of energy has grown by leaps and bounds. With the finalization of the Paris Agreement and the national spotlight focused on our presidential election, it looks as if America is now at the proverbial tipping point of taking effective climate action.

This shift in attention was evident last month when New York state senators joined geothermal heating specialists, advocates, environmental organizations and home and business owners to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a Geothermal Tax Credit Bill. During the 2016 legislative session, the bill was passed with overwhelming support in the New York State Senate and Assembly and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Geothermal Tax Credit Bill A9925/S62249 comes at an incredibly important time for the future of geothermal in New York. The bill gives a tax incentive of 25 percent and up to $5,000 to home and business owners to install geothermal energy systems, making it accessible to tens of thousands more people. Additionally, the state’s geothermal industry employs more than 1,000 people—all of whom will undoubtedly be bracing for the impact of the expiration of a 30% federal tax incentive at the end of this year.

Currently, the New York State Energy Plan states that 35 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions come from on-site combustion to heat homes and buildings. To combat this figure, the state recently adopted an aggressive mandate to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals of 40 percent by 2030 and set an additional goal of reducing emissions by 80 percent before 2050. Many of those who called on Governor Cuomo to sign the tax credit bill believe that investing in geothermal energy is a vital piece to the puzzle.

Senator Rob Ortt stated, “Utilizing natural, renewable energy benefits all New Yorkers. This legislation is a common sense, bipartisan approach that will pay dividends across our region by reducing our carbon footprint for future generations and investing in and creating good local jobs. With geothermal solutions, we’re also helping to lower energy costs for hard-working families and small businesses.”

Geothermal HVAC systems do not burn fossil fuel or generate any heat, but instead use a small amount of electric power and a system of underground pipes to transfer heat to and from the earth. Although outdoor temperatures show extreme fluctuations, subterranean temperatures stay relatively constant. A geothermal system takes advantage of these reliable underground temperatures to provide abundant renewable and clean energy.

With proper installation, a geothermal system’s buried loop and supplemental equipment can last for generations. The system itself also requires very little maintenance, so homeowners can say goodbye to the expense of regular heater repair and inspections. Even further, geothermal systems are recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency to be the most energy efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective HVAC technology available today.

Although the installation price of a geothermal system is usually much more than traditional air-source systems, with New York’s tax credit bill more homeowners would be able to afford the up-front cost and start reducing their carbon footprint sooner. Our licensed HVAC contractors would be happy to provide you with all of the information you need to determine if geothermal energy can work for you. Please contact us today to learn more.