ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The clock is ticking with Thursday being the last scheduled legislative session day of this year. Our Capitol Correspondent Amal Tlaige took a closer look at a bill on the docket that could make it easier for New Yorkers to install geothermal heat pumps. 

“Geothermal is the most efficient way to heat and cool a home… It’s a really great solution, particularly in places where it’s cold out,” said Michael Sachse, CEO of Dandelion Energy. Sachse said there’s about 10,000 homes in New York installing these units annually, with that number rising. The heating and cooling process happens when a bore hole, about 4.5 inches in diameter is dug into a backyard at a maximum of 500 feet deep, and a heat pump is installed in the home. 

Based on the home and state regulations, multiple holes may have to be dug up. Proposed legislation would allow holes to be dug up at a level greater than 500 feet, permitting companies to dig just one hole rather than multiple. “And that’s important because it makes it so that more homes can have geothermal because sometimes a limitation is just how big a backyard you have. So we wanna be able to serve homes that have smaller back yards,” said Sachse.

The pump uses the earth as a source to heat and cool your home. For every unit of energy that’s used, you’ll receive four units of heat in return. Sponsor of the bill, Senator Pete Harckham said the state considers anything beyond 500 feet as oil mining, but that is an outdated regulation. He said with New York’s greener agenda, this legislation will make that goal easier, “The private sector is now investing more in green energy than they are in fossil fuel based energy and geothermal needs to be a big piece of that, it’s incredibly cost-effective over the long term and more and more people would use it if it were more cost-effective. This piece of legislation will make it much more cost effective.” Harckham said it will also leave a smaller footprint. The bill has passed in the Assembly and will be taken up in the Senate. We’ll keep you updated, with the lastest.