Greater Binghamton Airport going green

By Erika Mahoney

October 29, 2013 Updated Oct 29, 2013 at 6:23 PM EST

Town of Maine, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Greater Binghamton Airport is breaking ground on innovate green technology.

A new geothermal system will help heat part of an aircraft parking ramp from the ground up.

Crews broke ground Tuesday to begin digging space for the geothermal wells. The wells will provide heat to a geothermal pad beneath the ramp's concrete.

The heat will make snow and ice removal easier, and it's expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 103 tons a year, according to Broome County officials.

The idea for the project stemmed from a Binghamton University student-led competition in 2009.

The student project leader said he spent countless hours on the proposal and said it's amazing to see his work develop.

"There's no easy way to describe this, "Justin Fleschig said, "But it's amazing to see something that was just a proposal on paper come to fruition and it's something tangible."

Since the initial proposal, the project has grown. The geothermal system will also be able to cool the terminal building during the summer.

Project officials said they believe they are the first U.S. airport to use this type of technology.

The project is expected to cost $1.25 million, and is being funded in part by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Regional Council Initiative.

If the project goes well, the system could expand to more areas of the aircraft parking lot and the runways.