You’re a well-respected physician in your adopted city, moving your practice downtown and wanting to make a special mark in your new neighborhood. How do you do something different and good for society, while also adding something aesthetically pleasing?
In the case of Paul Hriso, M.D. a general psychiatrist, you build an energy-efficient, artsy-looking building, which also adds to the attractiveness of the area.
Back in 2006, Hriso began his search for a new business home, and came up with a former gas station site, already cleaned up, on 15th Street and Avenue C, which seemed promising. After hiring Bayonne architect Stephen Kawalek, he was on his way.
“I just wanted to renovate the existing building, but [then Mayor Joseph] Doria said, ‘Why don’t you do something different?’”
Doing something different and environmentally sound is exactly what Hriso did.
He installed a geothermal heating and cooling system to the four-story, 12,000-square-foot building. Not only is it energy efficient, it also costs only 30 cents to the dollar compared to a conventional system.
“It’s very green. It’s non-polluting,” Hriso said. “The whole building is powered by geothermal energy. We’re the only one with it in Bayonne.”
Like it sounds, geothermal energy is pulled from the ground, where the temperature is always 55 degrees, according to Hriso. In order to harness this energy, eight wells were dug 600 to 800 feet below street level.
An initial investment is necessary, about 50 percent more in new construction costs than the price of a regular system, but there is much economic gain over the long term, according to Hriso. He said the figure for building his office with a geothermal energy system was an additional $120,000.
The geothermal system works with electricity in a closed loop to create the power, Hriso explained.
Hriso’s office was constructed with no government subsidies for the energy savings it realizes.
“I just looked it up and researched it online, and it made sense,” he said. “It’s incredibly efficient. You get a lot of heat and you get a lot of cold, for the air conditioning.”