APEX Thermal Services provides its customers with the most efficient and cost-effective thermal heating technologies, including Solar Water Heating and Radiant Heating Systems. APEX Thermal Services, was founded in the spring of 2006, to provide strong value, reliable equipment and installation quality to our many energy and cost-conscious customers across upstate New York. Basically, we are a green-plumbing firm, providing services of a typical plumber (i.e., Boilers, Space Heating Systems, Water Heaters), with a strong focus on implementing Solar Water Heating and Radiant Heating Systems, whenever possible. Why the strong focus on Solar Hot Water and Radiant Heating Systems? Solar Hot Water Systems are 300% more efficient than Solar Electric (PV Systems) at capturing available energy from the sun. Radiant Heating Systems are roughly 20 percent more efficient than traditional hot-water baseboard or forced-warm air space heating systems. Our goal is to help our customers address and better deal with the ever rising cost of energy! Basically, we are here to help you save money on your utilities!
In the photo to the left, on one of our earlier installs, I found some no-cost (well I did feed him) help (my Dad), to assist in installing six ground-mounted solar thermal collectors in Central Valley, Orange County, NY. This solar energy system heats a 250+ gallon solar storage tank in the basement, for domestic hot water purposes, it heats the pool during the summer, and provides some solar space heating in the basement, during the winter months.
Since our inception, it has been an interesting seven years, to say the least. The majority of our customers seem to be fairly well educated, regarding available technologies and their energy-conservation goals. Our goal is that our website plays a roll in our future customers' education. We also help people that don't know as much about the technologies, they just know that their utility and fuel costs have gotten way too high. We appreciate the opportunity to help all interested parties. Thank You to all of our past and future customers!
APEX Thermal Services has assisted customers throughout the Hudson Valley and Capital Regions of upstate New York, with solar heating, radiant heating, conventional heating and energy-conservation projects, including: Westchester County, Dutchess County, Rockland County, Putnam County, Orange County, Ulster County, Sullivan County, Greene County, Columbia County, Albany County, Rensselaer County and Schenectady County.
With the significant fuel cost increases of the past several years, more and more people are concerned about their energy costs and opportunities to reduce their impact on the environment. Recently, many more folks are interested in our off-grid (PV-Pumped) Solar Hot Water Systems. A dedicated solar electric panel powers a DC circulator to gather thermal energy captured by their solar hot water collectors. This system saves about 75 Watts of electricity, compared to the AC pumped systems, over a typical operating window of about 4.5-6 hours per day. Hey, every little bit helps. We support their efforts and echo their concerns and we look forward to assisting all those who are interested in developing a plan to take action against high and rising energy costs. If you don't have a plan, that is OK too. Contact APEX Thermal Services to discuss your heating equipment and to develop a best approach to your particular situation.
Back in 2006, the cost and financial returns of photo-voltaic (solar electric or PV) systems were not very attractive. Pricing for PV panels have improved considerably over the past several years, definitely improving the viability of such projects. More on this later!
We have learned some lessons, and thankfully, we have remained true to our initial focus on the design quality and the workmanship of the systems we have installed. We always strive to provide as many high-quality, US-made components within our systems as we can. Let's not give away all of our US jobs! Our workmanship started out very strong, and we continue to enhance our deliverable on every project. Please visit our photo "Gallery" page for a view of our projects and installation workmanship. Please visit our "Testimonials" page to hear what our customers think of our services.
We have established some great relationships, none finer than the one with Peter Skinner, PE and Founder of E2G Solar (West Sand Lake, NY). I recently co-authored a book together with Pete and some other heavyweights in the solar industry, titled "Solar Hot Water Fundamentals." This book is an excellent reference guide for solar thermal system designs and is often used as a text to assist students interested in learning more about solar hot water and solar hot water-powered heating systems.
We worked together with Pete Skinner on the final design and installation of a solar hot water system, integrated with a gasification wood pellet boiler at the Wild Center, Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, Tupper Lake, NY. Shortly after the installation, the project won the Best Building Integrated/Innovative category in the 6KC Awards, recognizing the best and brightest solar projects and industry champions in the Empire State, by the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA). (click this link)
A few months later, The Wild Center won yet another award! This time, the Wild Center's renewable energy heating system was named Bioenergy Project of the Year for Excellence in Renewable Energy at the Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo in Tampa, Fla. (click this link). The project took first place in its category, among hundreds of National nominees! How cool is that! The Wild Center Ultimately achieved LEED Silver Certification. We are happy to have contributed to their success!
Most recently, we have worked with Pete Skinner on a radiant heating system and solar thermal system design at Ulster County Community College, in Stone Ridge, NY. A radiant heated slab and two solar thermal energy systems were installed and integrated with conventional heating equipment, all of which will be heavily monitored and used for educational purposes.
Now, basic solar hot water systems don't typically use a lot of electricity for pumping. It might cost between $15 and $60 per year, for $700-$3,000 worth of fuel savings. So we have used mostly AC pumps on our solar hot water systems. However, over the past several years, more and more people are requested off-grid solar water heating systems. These systems use a dedicated 20 watt PV (solar electric) panel and a 12 volt DC pump. This option is typically applicable to pressurized glycol systems, and results in an up-charge of about $200-$250. This system actually provides some additional protection for the antifreeze used in solar hot water systems, as power outages will not interrupt system operation, greatly reducing the chance of system overheating. If and when the opportunity presents itself, we would consider designing and installing an off-grid DC pumped solar thermal drainback system.
More on PV (Solar Electric) Systems: Three summers ago, while assisting one of our vendors, I was intimately involved with the installation of five photo-voltaic systems in the five boroughs of New York City. That was very interesting for me, you see (even though it was ages ago), 3 1/2 years of my Vocational High School training was focused on the Electrical Trades. It was a great experience, and it was also good to follow up on the Ulster BOCES Advanced PV Installers course I took several years back.
Still, I am not quite convinced to shift the focus of APEX Thermal Services away from Solar Hot Water, Solar Space Heating, Radiant Heating and Solar Pool Heating. We are true specialists in this arena. The return on investment for PV systems has improved dramatically over the past few years, but system costs and returns still don't quite make it a great buy. Also, everyone and their brother is installing PV Systems these days. The last time I looked, you are likely to be at or around a 10 to 12 year return on investment, with all tax credits and rebates applied, whereas solar hot water will almost always come in at between 4 and 7 years. Our goal is to deliver the best possible value to our customers, so for now, we will generally stick with solar thermal systems.
However, for customers with no grid connections, or a specific need for battery powered systems, APEX Thermal Services is designing and putting out proposals for off-grid power systems. If a home is placed with no electrical supply nearby, a properly designed PC / Battery / Wind / Standby Generator System would be a great alternative to the high cost of installing telephone poles or a long underground wiring run. A home with this type power system must be designed from the ground up to minimize electrical consumption. All appliance selections should also bear this in mind. You may opt to install a DC well pump to be powered by storage batteries. People living in such a home will need an energy-conscious mindset, to get the most out of their system. It is amazing how many batteries you need to run home appliances for extended periods. And the best solar storage batteries are EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. Minimize the load first. You will save lots of money on equipment and batteries!
Contact APEX Thermal Services to discuss your alternative energy needs. We specialize in green plumbing projects, including: solar hot water, solar space heating, radiant heating, solar pool heating, high-efficiency boilers and water heaters, mini-split systems, custom controls, stand-by generators, backup-power systems, and off-grid power systems. Contact us to discuss your ongoing energy strategy!
Alan J. Paul, CEM, Founder
APEX Thermal Services
Telephone: 845 430 5825