Many homeowners want to do their part in contributing to a cleaner environment, and if they can save money on energy bills along the way, that’s even better.
A company that recently expanded and moved to Mount Kisco is looking to keep up with the demand of those heightened sensibilities.
Dandelion Energy, which installs geothermal systems for single-family houses in the Hudson Valley and western Connecticut, recently relocated its warehouse from Peekskill to the Diamond Properties complex at 333 N. Bedford Rd. Its corporate offices, which had been in Manhattan, have also been switched to the company’s 31,000-square-foot headquarters, a more centralized location to serve the growing number of homeowners in the region who recognize the value in geothermal investment.
Michael Sachse, Dandelion’s CEO, said geothermal reduces the amount of energy that a homeowner needs to heat their home by 80 percent and cuts energy to cool a house by 30 percent in summer.
“The houses that we think benefit the most are the ones that usually use fuel oil or propane because those are the most expensive fuels, but also for folks who are building a new house and are doing a major renovation, there’s a lot of attractiveness there as well,” said Sachse, who leads the company that was established four years ago by its President Kathy Hannun and now employs just over 100 people.
After tax incentives and rebates, a geothermal system costs between $20,000 and $25,000 for the typical home of 2,000 to 2,500 square feet, Sachse said. Perhaps the optimum time for those interested in geothermal is before an aging oil furnace needs to be replaced, he said. Between the cost of a new furnace and the expense for oil or propane each year, a homeowner can recover the cost of the system in about seven years if paid with cash.
Depending on what type of energy is used, a homeowner could cut their utility bills nearly in half, Sachse said. It also increases the value of a house.
In 2018, the federal government approved a federal tax incentive for geothermal ground source heat pumps realized through personal tax credits. The incentives save homeowners thousands of dollars.
A homeowner can also qualify for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) New York State Clean Heat Program.
Sachse said the land for the overwhelming majority of parcels in the region can handle the drilling that’s needed to install the ground loop that has to be placed about five feet below the surface outside. The ground loop is where the heat is exchanged, Sachse explained, while the heat pump is placed inside the house.
Since the temperature at that depth remains relatively constant at about 50 degrees, it helps save money on heating and cooling costs.
Once installed, there isn’t much in the way of maintenance or replacement costs.
“The ground loop is going to last for at least 50 years,” he said. “It will outlive all of us in all likelihood. The heat pump will last for 20 years. It’s a very long-lived system.”
The biggest challenge for Dandelion is to find the right spot on a homeowner’s parcel to conduct the drilling for the installation of the underground ground loop. Sachse said sometimes on steep slopes it can be difficult to find a good spot and you can also hit rock or find soil that isn’t conducive to house the underground portion of the system.
It’s one of the reasons why geothermal remains somewhat under the radar as opposed to solar, but a home can have both, Sachse said. Whether a homeowner uses oil or propane or supplements with renewable energy, geothermal helps maximize the heating and cooling of a house, thereby reducing expenses.
“In New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts there are 2.6 million homes that are using fuel, oil or propane for heating and none of these homeowners are happy with what they have,” he said. “They may want to go to something cleaner, they may want to go to something cheaper and geothermal is a fantastic option for all of them, and we’re finding that now that it’s gotten to a more affordable point, many people are eager to get going.”
To learn more about Dandelion Energy and geothermal systems, visit www.dandelionenergy.com.