Meet Dandelion’s first residential customers

Becky Meier

Becky Meier and Bob Connors are environmental activists who once successfully helped defeat a multibillion-dollar fracked gas pipeline that would have cut through their rural community in the upper Hudson Valley.

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They drive a hybrid car, and deliberately buy electricity from sustainable sources. And yet, until last year, they didn’t question routinely burning $3,000 worth of heating oil each winter to stay warm, and fans in the summer to stay cool. There didn’t seem to be a viable alternative.

Last year, the couple organized a sustainable energy fair where they discovered renewable, electric heating and air conditioning, made more efficient by a geothermal ground loop. The technology piqued their interest, and this week, Becky’s home in Canaan, NY, officially became Dandelion’s first residential installation.

“We’re the cofounders of an anti-fossil fuel organization, and I wanted to walk the talk,” Meier, 61, said. “I truly believe the planet is in trouble and I want to do as much as I can–even though it’s just a drop in the bucket–to devoting my life in some sense to make sure our planet survives.”

The desire to save the planet drove the couple to launch Stop New York Fracked Gas Pipeline, a grassroots organization that opposed a high-capacity fracked gas pipeline that would have run from Pennsylvania to Dracut, MA, through dozens of rural communities, some with just a few hundred residents each.

Publicly traded pipeline owner Kinder Morgan had the deep pockets to lobby politicians, commission studies and buy ads to drum up public support for the project. The fight could have dragged on for years.

Undaunted, Bob and Becky were able to get hundreds of people out to town hall meetings in rural communities, and encourage local, county, state and federal lawmakers to come out against the pipeline for environmental and financial reasons.

“We formed an organization, created a board, had educational meetings and did lots of politicking, trying to get towns and counties to pass ordinances and resolutions in opposition to the pipeline,” Connors said.

“We were absolutely shocked when the company withdrew its proposal; when I first heard it, I thought it was a joke,” Meier said.

After defeating the pipeline, “I didn’t want to just let this organization go, because that was the whole point–creating a community,” she said. “Then our challenge was, how do we get this group of people educated and informed about alternatives to fossil fuels?”

Bob and Becky are organizing their second annual Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair Oct. 28 in Rensselaer, NY (Dandelion will be exhibiting there). Becky says she hopes other homeowners will take a look at renewable heating and air conditioning, as well as the many other ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

“It seems like such a no-brainer to go renewable,” she said. “Years ago, there were real reasons why people were hesitant, but not anymore. Everyone should be putting up solar panels, buying into community solar, or using renewable companies for their electricity, and using geothermal energy to heat and cool their homes. It saves you money and saves the world.”

Dandelion makes a renewable heating and air conditioning system that uses a sealed ground loop buried hundreds of feet underground to boost the system’s energy efficiency.

The system costs $20,000 upfront (after a geothermal rebate from NYSERDA), or can be financed for zero down, with payments of around $150 per month. The average homeowner can save anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 in energy costs over the life of the system, and greatly reduce their home’s carbon footprint.

Sign up here to see if you can save money from a Dandelion home geothermal installation.

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