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Land Conservancy Institutes Earth-Friendly Energy System

New energy system 20 to 50 percent more effective than oil-based heating and cooling.

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, located at 19 Boonton Avenue, now uses a geothermal system to heat and cool its facilities and will reduce the organization's energy bills by nearly 50 percent, as well as remove their need for oil heating.

The land conservancy began using the new energy system last week after receiving a grant from the F.M. Kirby Foundation. The system is being used at the group's headquarters, the WildAcres preserve in Montville.

A geothermal system uses pumps to make use of the temperature of the ground (around 55 degrees) to either heat or cool a building, depending on the season. The method is between 20 to 50 percent more energy efficient than oil heating and cooling systems.

"This project fits our goal of making The Conservancy a more sustainable, efficient and greener organization," land conservancy president David Epstein said in a press release. "We hope that this project will serve as a model for individuals and organizations to use in joining us in reducing their energy usage and working toward a cleaner environment."

The installation of the new system took several steps, including insulating the office, drilling the well for the pump and finally installing the equipment. After the equipment was tested the Land Conservancy was ready to push forward with their new energy saving system.

Bob Canace, a land preservation specialist for the land conservancy, said that geothermal energy is a real-world example of green technology and worth the cost for the organization.

"It involves innovation, trained labor, and a commitment to the concept due to its initial cost," he said. "Payback periods can be lengthy.  But because we have no idea where fossil fuel prices will go in the future, investment in geothermal makes for predictable energy generation; predictability is important in successful business models."

The energy saving ways of the new geothermal system fit well within the principles of the land conservancy. The non-profit organization has been a state leader in land preservation for nearly 30 years. Some of its accomplishments include preserving over 16,000 acres of land in New Jersey and helping towns receive more than $182 million in grants to go towards land preservation.

The Land Conservancy has worked in 13 different counties in Jew Jersey, from its headquarters in Montville.

"From our standpoint, the installation of an alternate energy system helps establish TLC-NJ a leader in the conservation field," Canace said, "It extends our involvement in conservation beyond just preserving land. By virtually eliminating our dependence on fossil fuel, we're making a statement that we are sensitive to the carbon footprint of our business operation, and that it's important to incorporate ecological consciousness in our day-to-day operations."

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