55 Bay Street
Glens Falls, New York
When most people think of Geothermal Commercial installations they think of new buildings that were originally designed with a geothermal Heating, Ventilating, and Air Condition ( HVAC )system as part of the original concept.
With the Smith Flats building this couldn’t have been farther from the truth. In fact at the time this building was being built ( the mid 1890’s) the only ”geothermal” heating anyone had heard of in this part of the world was in California and Nevada at the hot springs.
The original heating system was a coal fired boiler that heated each room with cast iron radiators.
By today’s insulation and weatherproofing standards Smith Flats is the furthest thing from energy efficient. Which brings us to our point.
Throughout the 1980’s Niagara Mohawk utility company conducted energy consumption studies and published a manual of ENERGY PROFILES for “Energy Efficient Applications” in Various types of buildings across New York State. These commercial buildings were of various types of construction and ranged from Albany to Buffalo.
The published result showed a wide range in energy consumption and cost. The highest being over $3 per sq. ft. / year, and the lowest ( by a large margin for Office Buildings ) was the then 100 year old Smith Flats Office Building at $ .39 per sq. ft. / year. We have a copy of the ENERGY PROFILES manual if you would like to view it for yourself.
It has been some 18 years since that 1890’s vintage old brick building was converted to geothermal heating and cooling. It has been in constant operation since, saving it’s owners since then.
The “Fuel Tank” for this 15,000 sq. ft. building is the drilled waterwell in the back yard by the parking lot. We got some strange looks and comments when we drilled a well for a building that already had both city water and sewer.
Added benefits of a geothermal heated and cooled building:
- There are no smokestacks or chimneys
- There are no cooling towers or outdoor air conditioning condensers to try to hide or cover up their noise
- Because of the high efficiency of this geothermal HVAC system this 15,000 sq. ft. building requires only a 400 amp / 208 / 120 V electric service, even though we have all inhabited space in this building heated and cooled. Ask any electrical or mechanical engineer and they
will tell you this is way below the typical design criteria for this size building. In fact it’s the equivalent of having a 60 amp 240 / 120V residential service in a 1500 sq. ft. home, and having it totally adequate for all needs. Today’s average home has 150 to 200 amp service, some 2.5 to 3 times what is needed for the same size home with a geothermal system. Did you ever wonder why that is?
- Commercial electric power costs a lot more than the same number of Kilowatt Hours (KWHR) in a residential application. Commercial customers get charged for Kilowatt Demand (KWD) as well as usage (KWHR). In many cases the customer pays more for the KWD charge than the actual KWHR used. The highest demand (KWD) generally happens during the air conditioning season. Those dog days in July and August when the temperature and humidity seem to be in a race for the highest number in the 90’s. Geothermal systems produce as much, or more, air conditioning while using 40 – 50% less KWHR and KWD. The net result is a Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) that runs much more efficient, reducing both your KWHR and KWD costs. For an explanation of the charges associated with electrical demand (KWD) either call your local electric utility or us. The old mindset that heating and cooling energy are “ fixed overhead costs “ for building owners is no longer true. With today’s solar and geothermal technologies you can reduce those continuous overhead costs below what you ever thought was possible.
Click the links to below to read the Niagara Mohawk Energy Profile: