Lockport Housing Authority: ASHRAE

The official peer reviewed Journal of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

When the Lockport Housing Authority converted their Office Building in 2014 from gas to geothermal, it set two goals for us as a contractor:

  1. Ensure the highest possible comfort to their employees
  2. Ensure the highest possible efficiency of the geothermal system

The conversion gave us a unique opportunity to compare the energy impact of the geothermal system The monthly energy data was provided by the Housing Authority, and ASHRAE scrutinized everything through 3 peer reviewers in the process.

The data was normalized for the roof insulation upgrade and the weather, excluding all the cociding factors. The geo system reduced normalized natural gas consumption from 160,537 kWh (537 Million BTUs) in 2013 to 1,436 kWh in 2015. Normalized electricity consumption increased in 2015 by 13,666 kWh, so the geo system provided the space conditioning with 8.5% of the energy of the previous system. This was not only due to the higher efficiency of the geo system in heating, but also due to the significantly reduced electrical consumption during air conditioning season. In addition, the older furnaces and boilers were not operating at their nameplate efficiency between 70-85%, but between 50-60%, and also consumed significant energy for blower and pumping power not accounted for in the AFUE ratings. Thus the entire site’s energy was reduced by 60% through the installation of the geo system. In addition, the entire site is now free of emissions with the exception of the weekly test run of the emergency generators.

This is an important peer reviewed case study of the energy impact of a geothermal conversion from fossil fuel based heating (and conventional A/C) to geothermal, and indirectly the impact on carbon emissions.


Jay Scott, the Editor in Chief of the ASHRAE journal, wrote an editorial on the article, and highlighted the significance of the fact that the data was collected during the polar vortex winter of 2015, with February of 2015 being the coldest month on record, and where the geo system did not use any supplemental electric heat.

In the editorial Mr Scott pointed out that:

“The project has proven significant because the new system handled extreme cold conditions in 2015 while supporting New York state’s carbon reduction goals and reducing summer peak-electricity consumption.”

This article went out to the 50,000 ASHRAE engineering members worldwide. We are glad it highlights NYS leadership role in designing and building ultra efficient geothermal systems, to reduce carbon emissions, and we are glad we could exemplify in a case study how this could be achieved.