Installer Profile: Lake Country Geothermal of Walworth, NY

Steve Cooper, Lake Country Geothermal

If you live in western New York’s Finger Lakes region, chances are you spend a good amount of time, energy and money every year heating your house.

Longer, colder winters mean that an older home in Geneva, NY will likely use an estimated 1,084 gallons of fuel oil every year–a full 80 gallons more than the exact same house in New York’s Hudson Valley. The region’s rural nature means the majority of homeowners are unlikely to ever get access to natural gas pipelines.

“Almost everybody here is on fuel oil or propane,” says Steve Cooper, founder of Lake Country Geothermal. “Or they’re cutting wood and burning wood to avoid the high cost of fuel oil and propane. The message to them: With the current tax incentives, there’s never been a better time to convert to geothermal.”

Lake Country Geothermal, an official Dandelion installation partner, plans to install three Dandelion home geothermal systems per week this year, and ramp up to more capacity soon, Cooper says.

Dandelion’s geothermal system replaces your home’s existing oil or propane furnace, hot water heater and air conditioning units. It runs entirely on electricity, and uses of a set of sealed, water-filled pipes underground to make the system more energy efficient.

“It’s the same technology that runs your refrigerator,” Cooper says. “Unlike your refrigerator, which just pumps cool air, a geothermal system moves heat in both directions, meaning you can heat and cool your house with a single system.”

Lake Country Geothermal launched in 2016, and, like all geothermal companies, saw installations fall the following year, when a key federal incentive seemed like it might disappear. In 2018, with the federal incentive back on the books, geothermal is again an affordable option for homeowners.

Dandelion introduced standardized pricing, and a no-money-down financing model. Most homeowners in the Finger Lakes region who make the switch will see immediate savings on their heating and cooling bills–between $1,500 and $2,700 per year, depending on how the homeowner chooses to pay for their system.

For decades, geothermal heating and cooling in the U.S. has been largely confined to one-off installations at large, luxury homes and commercial properties. Dandelion is instead focused on small- to medium-sized homes, opening up the technology to tens of millions of homeowners.

“We both want to disrupt this industry. It’s needed to be disrupted for a long time,” Cooper says. “Why aren’t more people doing this? Why don’t we break down these barriers?

“…I tell my guys, ‘This is like bodysurfing in the ocean. There’s a big wave coming, but I don’t know if it’s a 10-foot wave, or a 100-foot wave, but it’s going to be huge when Dandelion makes a splash in the Finger Lakes region.’ So we’re rapidly gearing up for expansion.”

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