ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY — Bard College’s interest and commitment in installing geothermal systems, among other measures, is expected to significantly reduce its energy costs and make for a more comfortable and healthy college environment.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced its role in the installation of geothermal equipment and other efficiency measures through several programs at two of Bard College’s dormitories. The geothermal systems, in conjunction with other energy-saving practices, are anticipated to lower energy costs at the school by nearly $100,000 annually, provide peak summer demand savings of 450 kW, and reduce CO2 emissions by over 400 tons.

NYSERDA provided a study to determine the feasibility of installing geothermal systems at the college. Based upon the results of that initial feasibility study, the college enrolled in NYSERDA’s New Construction Program, which provided nearly $25,000 to complete technical assistance evaluations. These evaluations determined the energy savings associated with installing geothermal and other energy-efficiency measures the school was considering. Through the New York Energy $mart program, NYSERDA is promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, such as geothermal systems. With the governor’s support, NYSERDA is continuing and expanding its efforts to bring these technologies to the forefront and enable the state to gain the energy, environmental, and economic benefits offered.

In addition, the New Construction Program will be providing over $400,000 in incentives to help the college install the recommended equipment. Geothermal systems use the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool buildings efficiently. These systems are also said to be quieter and to minimize emissions as compared to conventional heating and cooling systems.

“I commend Governor Pataki (R) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for choosing to install geothermal systems and other efficiency measures at Bard College,” said State Senator Stephen M. Saland (R).

“This decision will benefit the college through reduction in energy costs, improved energy efficiency, and most importantly, reduce CO2 emissions significantly. This addition to Bard is a win-win [situation] in terms of both energy efficiency and improving the quality of our environment.”

“Our college has been interested in incorporating energy efficiency in these projects from the start, and NYSERDA’s assistance helped make it possible. Using these measures will reduce operating costs, reduce downtime, and improve comfort and health in the dorm,” said Mark Primoff, spokesperson for Bard College.

“The program had a direct and very positive impact on the architecture of these new student residences. By using geothermal heat pumps, we were able to eliminate exterior louvers normally used with air-to-air heat pumps. As a result, we were free to design the buildings to be more residential in character, a very important criteria for student living,” said Robert Siegel of Garrison and Siegel Architects.

“The NYSERDA New York Energy $mart program complemented our sustainable design vision for these buildings. They would be designed, detailed, and built well, with substantial materials, to endure many years of active use by visitors and students at Bard who will call this home during the next hundred years.”

The New Construction Program is funded under NYSERDA’s New York Energy $mart program, which provides money for energy efficiency, low-income services, research and development, and environmental protection programs during the state’s transition to electric retail competition. It is a key element in New York state’s electric utility restructuring.

Funding is provided through a system benefits charge (SBC) on the electricity transmitted by the state’s investor-owned utilities. The State Public Service Commission (PSC) named NYSERDA administrator of these SBC-funded programs.

For more information on NYSERDA, visit or

Publication date: 08/27/2001