2021 Webinar Series - 2 Virtual Top Job Finalists 1&2

The GeoStar Top Job Competition highlights and recognizes the incredible talent, creativity and imagination that exists in geothermal system designers and installers.

Join NY-GEO over the next couple of weeks to hear from the five competition finalists and get an inside look at what it takes to transform a building from fossil fuels to climate friendly, efficient electric heating. Register for any one or all three of the sessions.

After the final session on April 27, you'll get a chance to vote and help pick the winner! The winning entry will receive a $500 Cash Prize.

Session I - Tuesday, 4/13/21 at 12:00 p.m. ET

  • Finalist 1 - Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Niagara Community Center by Buffalo Geothermal. Presented by Owner Jens Ponikau.
  • Finalist 2 - Beach Green Dunes II by ZBF Geothermal. Presented by President Zach Fink.






Finalist 1 - Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Niagara Community Center by Buffalo Geothermal

  1. Is there any indication that solar heating of the asphalt over the slinky provides additional thermal energy for heating?
    1. It is very difficult to measure that. I (Jens) personally don’t think that there is any solar factor heating up the asphalt in the winter time and we have no indication that there is a solar factor there.
  2. Jens: do you see a geothermal possibility for the new Bills stadium in years to come?
    1. Of course. We are working on it. But now our customer will be the gas zar (Terry Pegula) of the North East. To convince him to go geo will be an uphill battle,….but you never know. Hopefully non emission heating will be mandated by then!
  3. Did you consider porous paving to increase the heating of the ground?
    1. No
  4. What temperature is the system good down to? I have heard most need backup heat when temps drop below 40 degrees. Surely they do up north.
    1. Just to clarify, the system needs no back up even on -10F outside temperature. It simply holds the set thermostat temperature, which is usually 68F inside.
  5. How deep were the loops placed? Frost hits up to 6 feet down up north in the Catskills.
    1. Answered Live
  6. How much electricity does the system use? It's great that you can tap into the Fall's energy but are there any specific efficiency measures taken?
    1. The total energy use is about 35,000 KWH annually.
  7. Congrats on such an impressive project!  In terms of the related mechanical systems, was a ventilation system included?
    1. Yes, it was in the original design, but given the very large wall area, air infiltration per occupancy is relatively high, thus extra ventilation was not needed.
  8. What was the ground loop design temperature and how did the slinky perform compared to the expected loop temperature?
    1. Design was between 30-75F. Loop is performing between 30.5 F and 69.8F.
  9. Seems like Jane was thinking of air source heat pumps which need backup when the air temperature goes too low.  Geothermal isn't impacted by the air temperature
    1. That is correct. Geothermal does not reduce its capacity on cold outside temperatures, nor does it reduce its efficiency.
  10. Jane's question was misinterpreted. Does the system ever need backup heat? Buffalo gets really cold.
    1. The system does not have any back up heat. 100% geo!
  11. Can you explain why you went with horizontal loops instead of vertical?
    1. For this project certainly cost was a big factor and using the horizontal loops enabled us to lower the total cost for the installation.

Finalist 2 - Beach Green Dunes 2 by ZBF Geothermal

  1. How did the cost of the VRF system compare to the Geo and what was the EUI between the two projects?
    1. We believe the costs of the two systems were the same after incentives including LIHTC, the Federal ITC, and the PSEG Long Island Rebate
  2. I did not understand what is the energy for loop pumping compared to geothermal
    1. We estimate it is roughly 5%
  3. Can you provide more information on the vertical heat pumps?  These are quite common in buildings in the NY metro area.  Are these designed specifically for geo or could any water source heat pump effectively work .  How would variable flow affect these?
    1. Vertical Stack Heat Pumps are sold in both standard and extended range units.  Extended range units have insulated coax heat exchangers and a few other features.  This project used ClimateMaster units
  4. If the 1st building was vrf and the 2nd geothermal and they're planning geothermal for the 3rd, does this mean the developer now has a preference for geothermal?  If so, why?
    1. The developer has installed ASHP on other projects since BGD II.  They currently have several million square feet of space under development with geothermal so they are no committed to geothermal on a large percentage of their projects.
  5. If passive construction reduces load to 1/3 of comparative structures, and actual usage is reduced to 1/4 of standard, what do you estimate the marginal impact of the geothermal is?
  6. Zach, is this at full, or near full, occupancy?
    1. Full lease up has occurred on the property
  7. Zachary did you consider going with fewer wells by going deeper than 500 feet
    1. Due to the challenges of drilling with mud rotary drilling deeper than 500 feet, we did not consider a design deeper than 500 feet