HeatSmart Tompkins: Harnessing the Efficiency of Heat Pumps
After two successful years of focus on rapidly increasing the deployment of solar PV in the residential sector, Solar Tompkins is turning to the promotion of non-fossil fuel alternatives and efficiency measures for home heating and domestic hot water, which, combined, account on average for three quarters of the total energy use in Tompkins County homes. The HeatSmart Tompkins program will accelerate the transition of home-heating away from fossil fuels via deployment of super-efficient air- and ground-source heat pumps in combination with improvement of building efficiency through better insulation and air sealing. The new program launches the week of September 14th, 2015 with enrollment through mid-December and a contract signing deadline in late January 2016. Click here for more details.
HeatSmart Receives 'People's Choice Signs of Sustainability' Recognition
At the Earth Day Ithaca community conversation on the future of housing hosted by Sustainable Tompkins, Solar Tompkins received recognition in the 'organization' category for demonstrating progress toward advancing community well-being, ecological stewardship, and local economic resilience.
HeatSmart Resident Discussion Series
Beginning on the evening of Thursday, April 7, Solar Tompkins will host its first Resident Discussion Session to highlight select projects completed as part of the HeatSmart program. These conversations will give county residents still interested in home heating and cooling via heat pump systems a chance to hear and dialog about air- v. ground-source system operation, project financing, and the resident/installer business relationship. Several of these sessions are scheduled for spring and summer 2016. Click to HeatSmart's upcoming events page for more detail.
NY DEC: ClimateSmart Communities Webinar
On February 11, 2016, HeatSmart was invited to present as part of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's ClimateSmart Communities Webinar Series. Nearly 100 people tuned-in to listen to Dr. Brice Smith, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of the Professional Science Masters in Sustainable Energy Systems at SUNY Cortland, and Matt Johnston, HeatSmart Program Director, discuss Staying Warm with Clean Energy: Renewable Heating Options and HeatSmart Tompkins. Audio, slideshows, and additional ClimateSmart Communities webinar content available via the link above.
New Resource: the HeatSmart Enrollee Checklist
This checklist is provided to HeatSmart program enrollees as an aid for organizing and going forward with your home energy improvement project. If you have already gone through one or more phases of the HeatSmart program with an installer, use this resource document to note the information you should be receiving during each stage of the business relationship.
Act Now to Support Geothermal Heat Pump Incentive Laws for NY State!
Two bills are awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature that could make a big difference for New York’s clean energy economy. Both bills create important tax incentives for the development of ground-source geothermal heat pump systems for home heating and cooling. Call 518-474-8390 by November 20th to express your support for bill numbers S.2905 (geothermal tax credit) and S.4279 (geothermal sales tax exemption).
HeatSmart Enrollments Continue to Climb, Program Deadline Extended
The number of enrollees in the HeatSmart Tompkins program has been increasingly steadily. In support of this momentum and to maximize participation by Tompkins County residents, the program enrollment deadline has been extended to December 15, 2015. Additional community meetings are scheduled for November and December as well as several public Q&A sessions.
New Community Meetings and Tours Announced!
Two additional HeatSmart Community Meetings have been scheduled for Ithaca: 10/21 at GIAC starting at 6pm, and at the Northeast Elementary School on 10/28 from 7 to 9pm. Several HeatSmart tours have also been scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of October. Don't miss these events and the opportunity to learn, discuss, and get HeatSmart alongside neighbors and community members. More information available on the HeatSmart Meetings page.
HeatSmart Community Tours Offer Opportunities to Engage with Peers, Learn More About Home Heating with Heat Pump Systems
To give interested Tompkins County residents an opportunity to tour the homes of fellow community members and learn first-hand about insulation and air sealing and the air-source heat pump and/or ground-source geothermal heat pump systems they have installed, HeatSmart Tompkins will be offering tours through September and October 2015. Tours begin Saturday, September 26th- please see the HeatSmart Meetings page for details.
HeatSmart Tompkins Program To Launch and Begin Community Meetings!
Solar Tompkins is excited to announce our first round of community meetings! Join us Tuesday, September 15 at the Enfield Valley Grange (178 Enfield Main Road) from 7 - 9pm. Additional upcoming meetings for the month of September can be viewed here.
Interested in Switching to Non-Fossil Fuel Alternatives and Efficiency Measures for Home Heating and Domestic Hot Water?
If you are interested in our 2015 program, please sign up here to be added to our mailing list for program announcements and updates. The program will launch in September 2015.
Interested in Going Solar But Missed the 2014 Program?
If you are interested in solar but just did not hear about the program in time, you did not miss the boat. The benefits the Solar Tompkins program has brought are here to stay. Start the process of going solar here. Get up to speed quickly by watching the video of one of our 34 community meetings from 2014 to learn how solar works, see the pricing and incentives explained, and to learn all the basics you need to know to get started. Also check out our commonly asked questions asked on our Solar FAQ page.
HeatSmart by the Numbers – May 19, 2016
The HeatSmart program concluded its contracting period earlier this spring. Since March we have been tracking project installations and receiving feedback from participants throughout Tompkins County.
How did we do? For a first-of-kind public education campaign introducing "newer" heat pump technologies to the community (unlike the existing familiarity with and popularity of solar PV in the local marketplace), we were modest in our expectations, hoping to enroll 300 participants and have 100 residents choose to improve their home energy performance by a stand-alone or combined investments in insulation/air sealing and an air-source (ASHP) or ground-source geothermal (GSHP) heat pump system for residential heating and cooling. Here are the results:
Program evaluation will continue through July 2016 and include a full analysis of HeatSmart activity, including participation by each town in Tompkins County, the performance of our installer partners, and estimates of fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. This effort will culminate in a final report to the community. A wholehearted 'thanks' from us at Solar Tompkins to all county residents that engaged with HeatSmart in 2015/16!
HeatSmart Resident Discussion Next Week – April 29, 2016
On Tuesday, May 3, from 6:30 to 8:30pm in the Borg Warner Room of the Tompkins County Public Library (101 E. Green St.), Solar Tompkins will host its second Resident Discussion Session to highlight select projects completed as part of the HeatSmart program. If you are still interested home heating and cooling via heat pump systems, come hear fellow community members talk about their home energy improvement projects, including air- v. ground-source heat pump system operation, project financing, and the resident/installer business relationship. This event is free and open to the public-- We hope you will join us!
Climate Solutions Fair this Saturday! – April 21, 2016
This Saturday, 4/23, from 10am to 4pm, HeatSmart will be at the Climate Solutions Fair in downtown Ithaca's Press Bay Alley. Come out and join us, Snug Planet, Renovus Solar and other great local businesses as we talk comfort, cost, and climate in the context of home energy efficiency.
This first annual Climate Solutions Fair will highlight climate change solutions by bringing together people and businesses who are passionate about solar power, wind power, electric bikes, tiny houses, advanced batteries, local foods and other ways to help the environment and the economy while having fun doing so.
Women and Community Solar to be Discussed – April 14, 2016
Cornell’s South Asia Program is hosting Bunker Roy and Megan Fallone of the Barefoot College on Tuesday, April 19 at 4:30p.m. in G-10 BioTech on the Cornell University campus. Roy and Fallone will speak about the “barefoot solutions” that have transformed rural people—especially women—into powerful agents of change in their communities. From solar energy, water, education, and health care to rural handicrafts, the “solutions” are unique and exemplified by the award-winning architecture of the College itself—designed and built by villagers for villagers. Please click here for more information about this event
HeatSmart Resident Discussion Session This Week – April 4, 2016
This Thursday, April 7, from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Space at Greenstar (700 W Buffalo St, Ithaca, NY), Solar Tompkins will host a Resident Discussion Session to highlight select projects completed as part of the HeatSmart program. If you are still interested home heating and cooling via heat pump systems, come hear fellow community members talk about their home energy improvement projects, including air- v. ground-source heat pump system operation, project financing, and the resident/installer business relationship. Several of these sessions are planned and more details can be found on HeatSmart's upcoming events page. We hope you will join us!
Paid Participation in Cornell Energy Study – March 7, 2016
HeatSmart participants and other interested Tompkins County households are encouraged to participate in a study funded by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell. Professor Howard Chong (Economics and Sustainability) invites you to join over 250 other local residents to get your house evaluated for energy efficiency. The simple test employs a temperature-sized thermometer in your house for 15 days. No site visit is needed, the study packet is mailed to you, and you return it (with postage paid for). Set-up takes less than 10 minutes. More details and sign-up available at: http://www.dataloggerproject.com. Following participation, you will receive your home's data and $5 for your participation.
You are encouraged to sign up at your earliest convenience as indoor temperature variance results are best recorded while winter weather is still with us. All homes, whether they are already well insulated or those believed to be under-insulated or "leaky", are encouraged to take part in this study. Participants also have the option to share their homes' results with HeatSmart to strengthen future programming efforts.
Send us your feedback on HeatSmart – February 10, 2016
As home energy project installations continue through the winter and on into the spring and summer months, Solar Tompkins would like to hear from the community regarding your experiences during the HeatSmart program.
See the 'HeatSmart Feedback' tab on the menu bar above? Go ahead and click it! Even if you didn't fully participate in HeatSmart, your feedback is valuable and will help us offer even better programs in the future. Thanks!
Crossing the Contract Finish Line – February 1, 2016
Sunday, January 31st marked the HeatSmart contract-signing deadline. A handful of program participants agreed to February signing extensions with their Installer Partner and have notified the HeatSmart Director of their ongoing home energy improvement project status.
Thank you, Tompkins County! We are thrilled about the HeatSmart program’s reach and support to-date and look forward to hearing more feedback from our partners and participants.
In the spring, Solar Tompkins will host an event to highlight select projects completed as part of the HeatSmart program and give those county residents still interested home heating and cooling via heat pump systems a chance to dialog about air- v. ground-source system selection, project financing and economics, and the resident/installer relationship. Please stay tuned for an announcement about this upcoming event!
HeatSmart Contract Deadline Countdown - January 21, 2016
12 ...11 ...10 days until HeatSmart's contract deadline! Contact your Installer Partner to discuss the final details of your home energy improvement project.
This is a busy time of year for businesses in the home insulation and heating industries. In addition to HeatSmart customers, installers can be heavily scheduled with other local and regional clients. As a result, HeatSmart acknowledges that some contracts may not be decided by the January 31st deadline. If customers and installers agree to a contract signing after the end of this month, please notify HeatSmart about the anticipated early February contract signing date you and your installer have agreed to.
If you have already completed insulation and air sealing work and/or had an air- or ground-source geothermal system installed, we would like to know. HeatSmart will continue to contact select program participants to inquire about your choice of system, the installation process, and thoughts on initial performance. We look forward to speaking with you!
NYSERDA Expresses Interest in HeatSmart - January 11, 2016
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has reached out to Solar Tompkins to learn more about how HeatSmart has been received in Tompkins County. NYSERDA's Multifamily Programs Division as well as the Office of Renewable Heating and Cooling have been complimentary of our efforts and are exploring how HeatSmart and the promotion of both air- and ground-source geothermal systems may be widely applicable beyond the residential sector. We look forward to a continued dialog with NYSERDA and the opportunity to inform their research and future programming.
New Year's Greetings from HeatSmart! - January 5, 2016
With our community meeting and enrollment period now finished, many Tompkins County residents have already contracted for the installation of home energy improvements through HeatSmart Tompkins or are considering doing so via their Installer Partner before the January 31st contract deadline.
If you have already had insulation and air sealing work performed and/or had an air- or ground-source geothermal system installed, we would like to hear about your experience. HeatSmart will be reaching out to a cross-section of program participants to inquire about your choice of system, the installation process, and thoughts on initial performance. We look forward to speaking with you!
A reminder for those still looking forward to completing a HeatSmart home energy improvement project-- our HeatSmart Enrollee Checklist can assist you in organizing and overseeing your customer/installer experience.
Extension of the U.S. Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Solar Projects - December 18, 2015
Exciting news here! Passed as part of the recent omnibus spending bill, the ITC will stay at 30% through 2020, and then decline gradually for two years before falling to 10%. The legislation also allows for PV projects to claim the credit for the year in which they begin construction. Read more here.
HeatSmart Enrollment Deadline is TODAY! - December 15, 2015
Today is the deadline for enrolling in the HeatSmart Tompkins program. Do you still have questions about program specifics? Have you waited until the last minute to officially join the program? If so, there is a grace period for late enrollment. Please contact HeatSmart Program Director Matt Johnston to discuss.
Have Questions about HeatSmart? Join us this Saturday, 12/12 - December 10, 2015
This Saturday, 12/12, at 10am in the Triphammer Marketplace location of the Ithaca Coffee Company (2255 N. Triphammer Rd.), HeatSmart is holding an informal Q&A session for program enrollees to ask staff and Installer Partners pointed questions about heat pump systems and the process of working with installers during their home energy improvement project. Join us for coffee and conversation!
Final Public Events of the HeatSmart Tompkins Campaign Scheduled - December 1, 2015
On Tuesday, 12/8 at 7pm in the Borg Warner Room of the Tompkins County Public Library, HeatSmart will deliver its final public presentation outlining the program, discussing heat pump technology, and introducing its Installer Partners. This presentation is a comprehensive introduction for county residents interested in learning about home heating and cooling via electric heat pump systems and participating in this one-of-a-kind program.
At 10am on Saturday, 12/12 in the Triphammer Marketplace location of the Ithaca Coffee Company, HeatSmart invites county residents enrolled in the program to an informal Q&A session. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask HeatSmart staff and Installer Partners questions about heat pump technologies and the process of working with installers during their home energy improvement project.
Questions about HeatSmart? Join us this Sunday, 11/22 - November 19, 2015
On Sunday, 11/22 at 6pm, HeatSmart invites county residents enrolled or considering enrollment in the program to an informal Q&A session. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask HeatSmart staff and Installer Partners questions about heat pump technologies and the process of working with our installer partners. Join us for a drink and conversation at the Ithaca Coffee Company and Tavern (311 E. Green St.), located in the Gateway Commons building in downtown Ithaca.
HeatSmart Featured on WRFI's The Forecast - November 9, 2015
Director Matt Johnston recently spoke on-air about HeatSmart Tompkins with Guillermo Metz and Art Weaver, hosts of the 88.1 FM Ithaca/91.9 FM Watkins Glen program, The Forecast. Click to listen to the interview.
New HeatSmart Meetings Scheduled - November 5, 2015
HeatSmart will be making community presentations at both the Space at Greenstar (700 W. Buffalo St.) on Thursday, 11/12, and at the Tompkins County Public Library (101 E. Green St.) on Tuesday, 12/8. Both meetings are scheduled for 7 - 9pm.
Also being planned are several Q&A sessions to allow Tompkins County residents to join HeatSmart staff and our Installer Partners in an informal setting to ask questions about program enrollment and heat pump technology. For dates and venues, please check:
HeatSmart Halloween Happenings - October 27, 2015
This week HeatSmart Tompkins will be hosting its community meeting at Northeast Elementary School (425 Winthrop Drive) in Ithaca on Wednesday, 10/28, from 7 - 9pm. Please share this meeting date with your network!
To coincide with the recent extension of the HeatSmart Tompkins program, additional community meetings will be scheduled through the month of November. Please check here soon or via the Solar Tompkins Facebook page for upcoming venues and meeting dates.
Where is HeatSmart Next? Public Meeting in Newfield this Weekend - October 24, 2015
Tomorrow, Saturday, 10/24, HeatSmart will be presenting at the Newfield Fire Hall (77 Main St) from 10am - Noon. After the meeting, at 2 pm, there will be a community tour of a ductless ASHP home heating system in Brooktondale. On Sunday, 10/25, there will be two HeatSmart community tours in Caroline, each featuring horizontally-installed GSHP geothermal systems. For times and directions to each of these events, click here. Please join us!
HeatSmart at GIAC- October 21, 2015
HeatSmart Tompkins is hosting a public meeting at GIAC (301 W. Court St.) tomorrow, Wednesday 10/21, from 6 - 8pm. Join us in downtown Ithaca for pizza and to learn about the importance of home insulation, air sealing, and the benefits of heating your home with air- and/or ground-source heat pump systems. Winter is coming-- get HeatSmart! http://www.solartompkins.org/
HeatSmart in your Community this Weekend! - October 16, 2015
HeatSmart is holding its second public meeting in Lansing this Saturday, 10/17, at 10am at the YMCA (50 Graham Rd. West). On Sunday, two community tours are being offered: At 1pm on Sunday, 10/18, we are showcasing an 1890s home with a geothermal heat pump system servicing baseboard and radiant floor heating. This system also utilizes an air-source hot water heater. At 3:30pm we will be in Danby touring a new home utilizing a ductless air-source heat pump system. The addresses and further details about these tour stops can be found here.
HeatSmart in your Community this Week! - October 6, 2015
Beginning today, Tuesday, 10/6 HeatSmart is holding evening community meetings in Ulysses at the Franziska Racker Center, at the Dryden Fire Hall, and at the Fire Company Hall in Newfield. Each event begins at 7pm and ends at 9pm. On Saturday, 10/10, our community meeting will be held from 10am to Noon at the West Danby Fire Hall. Later this Saturday, at 2pm, HeatSmart will host a tour of 400 Ed Hill Road in Freeville-- a residential home built in 1820 and powered by a geothermal heat pump system for the past 5 years. Please considering attending any of the above events to learn more about our program and how Tompkins County residents are using heat pumps to meet home heating and cooling needs.
HeatSmart Welcomes October! - October 2, 2015
Over this early October weekend, HeatSmart Tompkins will be conducting its second community meeting at the Enfield Valley Grange (178 Enfield Main Rd.) on Saturday from 10am - Noon, and afterwards offering a community tour at 2pm in Caroline (80 Yaple Rd.) of a year-old geothermal heat pump system and 50 gallon air-source heat pump hot water heater at work in a home built in 1997. Please join us for one or both of these events!
RESCHEDULED- Caroline Public Meeting - October 1, 2015
The community meeting originally scheduled for 9/29 at the Caroline Center Church and cancelled due to weather has been rescheduled for Thursday, October 15th at the same venue. For other HeatSmart meeting and community tour information, click here.
New Community Tour Scheduled for Saturday, October 3rd in Caroline - September 28, 2015
Interested Tompkins County residents-- please show out in Caroline this Saturday, 10/3 at 2pm to tour a home built in 1997 that utilizes solar power, a ground-source geothermal heat pump system, and an air-source heat pump hot water heater. More details here.
CHANGE of VENUE for Town of Ulysses Public Meeting on Wednesday, 9/23 - September 21, 2015
The HeatSmart Tompkins public meeting scheduled for this coming Wednesday, 9/23 in the Town of Ulysses will now take place at the Village Hall, 56 E. Main St. in Trumansburg, NY. Please note that the entrance to the Village Hall meeting room is just off the municipal parking lot, which is on Elm St (right across from the initial Ulysses Town Hall meeting venue).
HeatSmart Community Tour dates now posted! - September 18, 2015
To give interested Tompkins County residents an opportunity to tour the homes of fellow community members and learn first-hand about the air-source heat pump and/or ground-source geothermal heat pump systems they have installed, HeatSmart Tompkins will be offering tours through September and October 2015. Please see here for more details!
HeatSmart Tompkins Goes Public With Press Release, Installer Partners for Much Anticipated Program - September 11, 2015
“This is an exciting initiative,” said Matt Johnston, HeatSmart Tompkins’ program director. “Home insulation and heat pump services can’t come to Tompkins County soon enough, especially with winter approaching.” Solar Tompkins recently selected three companies – Halco, NP Environmental/ Upstate Spray Foam, and Zerodraft – as its partners in the HeatSmart program. “These are fantastic businesses that offer top-notch services,” Johnston said. “They’re ready to handle the surge of activity we anticipate as residents learn more about this opportunity.” Full text of the HeatSmart Tompkins press release here.
HeatSmart Tompkins Public Meeting Schedule - September 1, 2015
HeatSmart Tompkins is hosting 2 community meetings in each town in Tompkins County throughout September and October 2015. These educational events are being led by Solar Tompkins, and will focus on all-you-need-to-know-made-easy introductions to heat pump technology. These meetings will provide one of three ways to enroll in the program, introduce our 3 Installer Partners, and have dedicated time for attendees to meet, discuss and learn more about the products and services our different partners can provide. Full meeting schedule available here
Matt Johnston selected as Program Director for HeatSmart Tompkins Program - July 14, 2015
The Solar Tompkins Board has selected Matt Johnston as Program Director to lead the 2015 HeatSmart Tompkins initiative. Matt, a resident of Ithaca, brings extensive experience in energy and environmental planning as well as community development to Solar Tompkins. To read his full bio, please click here.
For previous news, please see our news archive page.