Renew, reuse, recycle: the buzzwords of the new millennium are making their way into homes and vineyards on the North Fork. From solar power to wind turbines to geothermal heating and cooling, green design and renewable energy are the waves of the future.
Marc Cléjan, Co-Founder and CEO of Green Logic Energy, began in 2005. With its main office in Southampton and other offices in Nassau, Suffolk and the Twin Forks, including Cutchogue, it is the largest provider of renewable energy solutions on Long Island. Its goal is to reduce energy consumption to 0 (no gas, no oil, no electricity), by instead using sun, wind, and earth power. Specializing in solar electricity, solar hot water, geothermal heating and cooling, wind turbines, pool heating, and passive solar designs using large south-facing windows and dense floor materials, Green Logic Energy is involved in all aspects of green design.
Jesse Gaffga, who built his family’s home in Mattituck in 1996, invested in solar electricity in July, 2012. He contacted Green Logic Energy and with the incentives from the federal government, New York State, and LIPA, found it to be affordable. The solar panels were attached to the roof of his garage and designed to produce electricity for the entire 2200 sq. ft. home. The southwest facing garage roof could support the weight of the panels, equal to an additional layer of shingles. The solar panels absorb as much sun as possible producing enough electricity for the home. Gaffga says “The solar panels have worked out really well for us” and hopes to pursue other energy saving measures such as solar hot water in the future.
Peconic Bay Winery was founded in 1979 in Cutchogue. Since 2009, Jim Silver has been the General Manager. The 62-acre vineyard produces approximately 10,000 cases of wine annually. In 2010, through Green Logic Energy, the winery purchased and installed a ground-mounted 40-kilowatt 180-solar panel system, the largest of its kind at a Long Island winery. Since then the energy costs to the winery have been reduced by 50%. The winery chose solar over wind power due to its low maintenance and small spatial requirements. With no moving parts, no noise and no maintenance, the ground-mounted solar panels were a perfect fit for the winery, soaking in as much sun as possible while producing large amounts of electricity.
Pindar Vineyards, in Cutchogue is a 350-acre vineyard begun in 1980 by Dr. Dan Damianos. The vineyard produces approximately 70,000 cases of wine annually. The vineyard practices sustainable agriculture by using compost from grass clippings, grape skins and fish parts from a local seafood market as well as using a geothermal cooling system for the compressor in the refrigeration unit and LED lighting in the wine tasting bars. In December, 2011, with LIPA incentives and through Green Logic Energy, the winery purchased and installed a 156’ foot tall, 100-kilowatt wind turbine, the largest of its kind in the Town of Southold, powering 80% of all the winery operations located in their largest building, a 40,000 sq. ft. winemaking facility. They chose wind power over solar because it is always windy on the North Fork. The wind turbine spins 98% of the time, always producing energy.
Duck Walk Vineyards, a 120-acre vineyard in Southold, owned and managed by Alexander Damianos, son of Dr. Dan Damianos, opened in 2008. It produces approximately 22,000 cases of wine annually. It has a complete geothermal system for heating and cooling the building itself as well as LED lighting. In addition selected grasses grown between the grapevine rows enrich the grapes naturally without using chemical fertilizers.
Green Design is the wave of the future on the North Fork. From solar power to wind turbines to geothermal heating and cooling, renewable energy will ensure the precious resources of the environment will be preserved for generations to come.
Ruth Thomas, a freelance writer on the East End enjoys history, music, literature, art, nature, the beach, and her cute dachshund, Clancy. She can be contacted at [email protected]