The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
(718) 274-4500

For Immediate Release
January 7, 2015
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Constantinides Introduces Bill to Encourage Geothermal Power

New York City Hall – City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) today introduced INT. 609, which would encourage the use of geothermal systems in buildings citywide.

Geothermal systems operate by accessing stored heat under the Earth’s crust in the winter. They also cool people off in the summer by channeling heat into the ground. These systems act as energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly building HVAC units (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), as little additional energy must be spent on heating or cooling.

The bill would:

  • Establish a program that encourages solar panel installation coupled with geothermal system installation throughout all buildings in the City.
  • Build a list of city-owned buildings, waterfront properties, and private lots that would be suitable places for geothermal system installation, on the basis of cost and space constraints.
  • Mandate the City Departments of Buildings and Environmental Protection adopt regulations for installing and maintaining geothermal systems and for licensing people who would perform the installations and maintenance.
  • Build a public listing of information about geothermal systems, associated costs, design, and types of buildings which such systems can serve. The listing would also include the monetary, public health, and environmental benefits of replacing fossil fueled HVAC systems with geothermal power. This listing would be derived from information gathered in a study that the City was mandated to conduct by a 2013 law.

Constantinides said, “This bill will help move us toward our city-wide commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. We must continue to encourage the expansion of sustainable energy sources like geothermal power on a grassroots level. This bill will make geothermal energy systems more simple and safe to attain for people in their own homes and will encourage its use in City buildings. Expanding geothermal power will bring environmental benefits as well as benefits to our economy, public health, and air quality. I look forward to seeing this bill move forward in the legislative process and I encourage my colleagues to sign on.”

This bill follows the unanimous passage and enactment of Constantinides’ bill to reduce carbon emissions city-wide by 80% by 2050 last November. Constantinides also introduced several other pieces of legislation improve the city’s environment. INT. 54 mandates that city ferries be powered with at least 20% biodiesel by 2020. INT. 359 would require a study of negative environmental impacts resulting from governmental policies and programs in low-income communities. INT. 186 would mandate that residents and business owners do not exceed a minimum noise level at night.

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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