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Go Green: Geothermal System

A local dental practice is using the earth's natural underground energy to keep patients comfortable while their teeth are cleaned.
Nestled next to Dr. Brad Emery and Dr. Carol Scuro's dental practice on Chili Avenue in Rochester is a stream.  Three years ago, the married doctors were inspired by a suggestion they try to harness the flowing water's energy.  They researched and then purchased a geothermal system which heats and cools their office.

"You just tell the system what temperature you want and it figures out what it's got to do to make that happen," said Dr. Emery.

Pipes circulate water up and down 300 feet into the ground where the earth's natural energy is at a constant temperature of 55 degrees.  This time of year, water pipes in the building pick up heat energy and send it down into the ground, creating a cooling effect.  "You just set the number on the thermostat and the system knows it has to make it cooler to get down to the number or if it has to make it warmer to get up to the number," said Dr. Emery.

Once the system was installed, the doctors determined they were using about 75 percent less gas on a monthly basis.  Dr. Emery estimates it will take about 10 years for the geothermal system to pay for itself, but the environmental benefit was immediate.  "All of a sudden, I guess we are a bit more green than we were before the project got started," he said.

When it comes to cleaning teeth, the doctors seek natural healing methods.  When it comes to heating and cooling, they've found natural energy.  "That philosophy we've had in dentistry for a while, so I guess now, with all the environmental, green ideas out there it's kind of a natural connection," said Dr. Emery.


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