Geothermal Energy Installers in Buffalo
Not everyone can use solar panels or wind turbines, making the renewable energy market diverse by necessity. Geothermal energy is rising in accessibility and affordability. So, what does that mean for the residents of Buffalo, New York? How many geothermal energy installers are there in the region, and do they have the capacity to service the people in the city who want to switch to geothermal energy?
How Does Geothermal Benefit or Hurt Buffalo?
New York state is signaling the end of an era — a potential ban on natural gas. If this follows through, the state must seek other energy options in large quantities to satisfy every regional demographic dominated by the nonrenewable resource. A sweeping piece of legislation like this could harm Buffalo residents unless geothermal energy companies step up to provide an alternative. Luckily, some are already taking advantage of this opportunity to make a more carbon-friendly Buffalo as those reliant upon natural gas find themselves in a potential bind.
Another instance where geothermal energy benefits the city of Buffalo is through retrofitting old buildings. In a town with old buildings, the Kleinhans Music Hall had a call for donations for a necessary boiler replacement in April 2022, and citizens urged not just a replacement but an overhaul to suit geothermal compatibility. Actions like these speak to the desire for Buffalo to embrace geothermal energy and help New York state achieve its climate and carbon goals.
However, Governor Hochul recently answered questions in Buffalo regarding the Climate Action Council Scoping Plan. To get to a zero-emissions by 2030 target, residents will have to replace fossil fuel-using furnaces and generators with more eco-friendly options — like geothermal. Unless costs for geothermal transitions go down as it becomes more commonplace, residents may cause potential uproar as they face high upfront costs beyond their expectations.
As Buffalo expands green educational opportunities for sustainable housing development, more qualified workers should enter the workforce to execute geothermal projects.
What Businesses Are Available in the Area?
Geothermal isn’t new to Buffalo, and more businesses will come into the area as opportunities expand. The city’s wide-ranging climate provides the optimal setting for successful geothermal power plants. However, the transition must be controlled not to overwhelm resources. If geothermal power plants abuse water sources, energizing an influx of homes, there might be a time when supply can’t meet demand. These companies are in the Buffalo area right now, starting to raise awareness and accessibility to residents.
The first and most well-known is Buffalo Geothermal Heating. They have been operating since 2008, with several certifications, including the Certified Geoexchange Designers (CDG) certification from the American Association of Energy Engineers. They claim to be western New York’s most successful geothermal installer with leading designs and reasonable rates.
Another business is Capital Heat. They offer more than just geothermal energy installation, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t just as qualified. Like Buffalo, they pride themselves in a thorough design process, choosing the loop type that best benefits the home and the land surrounding it to capture the most heat. They have been in business since the 1950s, innovating as new technologies arise.
For those more on the outskirts of Buffalo, Aces Geothermal & Solar could be a great option, especially since they offer digital quotes in response to COVID-19. Because they provide both geothermal and solar services, they have a balanced perspective on what would benefit residents the most.
Buffalo residents can also reach out to local nonprofits to learn more about geothermal energy in the city, such as the Ground Up Geothermal Alliance of Western New York or the local Sierra Club chapter.
How Much Does it All Cost for Buffalo Residents?
Most geothermal energy installers don’t have easy-to-access, flat rates on their websites. The installation and upfront costs depend on the house’s criteria and what state and federal tax credits are available. Every company will need to perform inspections to see how much time and how many resources the switch will need to run consistently and to a high standard.
Buffalo Geothermal lists some of these factors when they consider pricing:
- What is the air system already in place, and what will it take to remove it?
- How well is the home insulated, including windows and doors?
- How much geothermal will the home need based on regular energy usage?
Other providers, like Aces, ask about lot acreage and photos of the current heating system before providing customers with an accurate quote.
However, the Department of Energy estimates around $2,500 per ton of capacity for a geothermal heat pump. Labor and installation costs aren’t considered in this equation, as that is location and company-dependant. Depending on a household’s energy usage, a home should be able to have a net positive on its investment within a decade.
As more areas switch to renewable energy generation, homes produce more energy than they use. It’s possible geothermal energy of the future could incentivize or reimburse households that could redistribute extra geothermal energy back to the grid. Though this isn’t confirmed, it’s a possibility other renewable energy sources experiment with.
For financially concerned citizens, it’s more valuable to consider geothermal energy as a long-term investment. Almost 75% of the energy powering a home comes from the Earth for free, and 22% of tax credits are available in 2023 — subject to change for subsequent years.
Choosing Geothermal Energy in Buffalo, New York
Whether in Elmwood Village or on the outskirts near Bowmansville, geothermal energy installers in Buffalo can access interested households. As companies invest more into the resource and build more efficient geothermal plants, it becomes more of a sensible energy solution. For areas of the nation with shorter days that can’t take advantage of solar as much or don’t have a lot of wind to power turbines, geothermal works. In conjunction with other renewable energy sources, geothermal energy could significantly decrease Buffalo’s carbon footprint in the coming years.