Upon its inception, LI-GEO recognized the critical need for standardization of geothermal system designs and installations. One of several committees established early on in the organization’s history was for Standards and Codes. Independently, the Suffolk County Planning Commission (SCPC) decided to develop a fast-track permitting process for geothermal systems as it had previously implemented for solar and wind systems. Towards that end, SCPC contacted LI-GEO and the two organizations together developed a draft model geothermal code framed around an initial code developed by the Town of Brookhaven.
SCPC solicited input of key stakeholders on the draft model code and LI-GEO incorporated the input received. The final code was adopted by SCPC on October 1, 2014, and subsequently issued to various town and village municipal officials. During LI-GEO’s annual conference held on November 13, 2014, the model code was officially rolled out by SCPC Chairman David Calone and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
The primary objective of the geothermal code is to help municipalities evaluate proposed geothermal systems in residential and commercial settings. It is designed to allow for a more streamlined application process thus more expeditious review and approval of permits to install geothermal systems that satisfy certain basic criteria, specifically system type and site conditions. The model code applies to typical systems installed in “non-sensitive areas,” as defined in the code, which comprise the majority of situations in which geothermal systems are being installed on Long Island. It is important to note that the code does not exclude other types of geothermal systems or installations at project sites that vary from the basic criteria. Those situations not covered under the code would be addressed separately by the municipality.
PSEG Long Island has committed to provide implementation assistance of $10,000 to each township and $5,000 to the first ten villages with a population greater than 5,000 in Suffolk and Nassau that adopt the model geothermal code by March 31, 2015. For more information on PSEG Long Island’s implementation assistance, please contact John Franceschina at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-660-3049.
In addition, LI-GEO is planning a series of training and informational sessions on implementation of the code for municipal officials and others. Any interested parties please contact John Rhyner at email@example.com or 631-406-9969.