Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

NY-GEO ‘Top Job’ Award for Home in Fayetteville, NY

Halco installer, Shawn Hodge (left), converted William Sunderline’s (right) historic home from natural gas to geothermal heating and cooling, eliminating fossil fuel use in the home. Photo: Pamela Bender.

A historic Fayetteville home and a local HVAC contractor are the winners of the 2019 GeoStar Top Job Competition for a geothermal installation. Halco, an HVAC contractor with offices in Liverpool, Phelps, Rochester, and Ithaca, NY won the prestigious award at the annual NY-GEO conference held in Schenectady, NY in April. Halco was among five companies who were chosen to present their noteworthy geothermal (ground source heat pump) projects as finalists in the 2019 GeoStar Top Job Competition.

Halco’s winning job, ‘The Noble House,’ converted a historic home right in the heart of Fayetteville, NY from natural gas to geothermal heating and cooling, eliminating fossil fuel use in the home. The home was built in the early 1800’s and was home to the prominent abolitionist and publisher of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Linnaeus P. Noble.

The award will be presented to Halco and the Noble House owner William Sunderlin in a ceremony at noon on Thursday, May 23rd at the Noble House. Elected officials, the public and the press are invited to the ceremony at 305 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville, NY. Light refreshments and snacks will be served and those interested in attending this free event are asked to register in advance at

The objective of the GeoStar Top Job Competition is to highlight and recognize the incredible talent, care, creativity and imagination that geothermal system designers and installers, bring to their projects” explained Bill Nowak, Executive Director of NY-GEO. “The competition also communicates to those outside the industry the variety of ways that geothermal heat pump technology can be applied. The Noble House is an excellent example of the ability to install geothermal systems even on small lots and in historic homes.”

A detailed description of the Noble House project can be found here on the NY-GEO website: It includes pictures and a short interview with owner William Sunderlin.

Following strict historic preservation guidelines including preservation of floor-to-ceiling historic windows, this was a large scale retrofit project with many upgrades made, including major shell work.

Halco fully believes in the concept of ‘Reduce before you produce,’” explained Halco owner Hal Smith. “Tightening up the home by improving the insulation and reducing drafts was an important first step.”  

Once all prep work was completed, the geothermal system was properly sized and designed to fit the heat demand of the home. Halco installed a 12-ton system, drilling (3) bore holes to a depth of 420 ft with 1.5” loops tied into 4 separate heat pumps;

  • one heat pump for the hot water,

  • one to heat and cool the second floor of the home,

  • one for the main living space, and

  • a fourth to heat and cool the adjoining apartment.

All heat pumps are tied into GeoStar remotely programmable thermostats, which allow comfort control, humidity control and access to energy use data for the homeowner. 

Recognizing the GeoStar Top Job honor, homeowner William Sunderlin states, “Within Halco, the person who deserves special recognition is Shawn Hodge, their lead geothermal installer. Faced with the challenge of installing 21st century technology in a 19th century house, Shawn mobilized his ample creativity, problem-solving skills, and technical knowledge to surmount every challenge – there were many! – that got in his way.”

Prior to install, Mr. Sunderlin was a natural gas customer. As a climate scientist, he had been considering going green for twenty years and is keenly aware of the importance of getting off fossil fuels.  Today, William is a member of the steering committee for HeatSmart CNY, a community-based campaign helping building owners connect with assessments, incentives, and technologies to make homes and businesses more comfortable, cost-effective, and better for the environment.  Mr. Sunderlin has opened his home to the public as part of HeatSmart CNY home tours and passionately encourages others to consider clean energy.Most recently, “The Noble House” received a Pearl Platinum Certification. Pearl Certification is a national firm that provides third-party certification of high-performing homes: homes with “performance assets” that make them healthy, safe, comfortable, energy and water efficient.  These certifications help convey the hidden value of a home to potential buyers in the future. Pearl looks at each asset category (Heating and Cooling, Baseload, Building Shell, Home Management) and Platinum scores well in all four categories. William’s home is 1 of 2 platinum scoring homes in New York State, the other is also a Halco customer.

In addition to the May 23rd Award Ceremony, the Noble House will also open its doors for a tour of its energy efficient renovation in June as part of ArtRage Gallery’s annual “Pedal Power” bike tour fundraiser on June 15. Bicyclists will begin at ArtRage in Syracuse and bike along the path of the old Erie Canal, touring the Noble House before returning to ArtRage for a luncheon. To register visit

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