The New York City Council recently passed local law 0609-A-2015 stating that all new city buildings or city-owned buildings undergoing a HVAC retrofit must use geothermal if the ‘geothermal system has the lowest net present value of all alternatives considered.’ This legislation is a big deal for designers and installers of geothermal projects because it requires a minimum qualification.


Here are three important things you need to know about the new law:

  • The law stipulates that in 18 months, an agency appointed by the mayor must define the qualifications of designers and installers.
  • The law does not provide specific criteria for qualifying designers or installers, but NY-GEO, the local arm of industry lobbying organization GEO, will be aggressively advocating to NYSERDA and others that all commercial geothermal projects be designed by a ‘Certified GeoExchange Designer’. The recent success with this law and general effectiveness of GEO on a national level is an indicator that they will succeed with their goal.
  • This important piece of local legislation is a sign of the establishment of geothermal as a mainstream technology. The law signals good things for the continued growth of the industry and also indicates that a greater awareness of geothermal comfort systems comes with the understanding that these systems are more complex than traditional HVAC solutions and thus require properly-trained designers and installers to ensure long-term efficiency.

About the Author: Doug Carruthers

Doug Carruthers is the primary software developer for Geo-Connections, Inc. He is responsible for the design and development of LoopLink RLC, LoopLink PRO and LoopLink GSE. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from South Dakota State University as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art from Washington State University.


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