“Home heating and cooling is by far the largest use of energy in Tompkins County homes,” said HeatSmart program director Jonathan Comstock. “It’s also one of the major expenses. Heat pumps bring greater comfort during all seasons, providing warm and even temperatures in the winter and air conditioning and dehumidification in the summer. For residents who heat their homes with expensive fuels, it can also bring substantial savings.”
Water heating is also a major energy user, Comstock said, and here, too, heat pumps can provide benefits – and savings. Stand-alone air source heat pump hot water heaters can replace domestic gas or electric water heaters and often provide an excellent return on investment. Ground source heat pump systems used for space heating can also provide hot water.
The information meetings give residents a chance to learn about heat pump technology and to meet representatives of three vetted installers – Halco, NP Environmental and Standard Insulating. If residents like what they hear, they can schedule a home energy assessment with no obligation.
“Our role is really education,” Comstock said. “People are curious about heat pumps, and about other measures they can take to save energy. But it can be confusing without a little help.”
Many of last year’s participants ended up making home sealing and insulation improvements without installing heat pumps, he said. He expects some of them to come back this year to take the next step.
“Many people are eager to install ground source heat pumps, but they’ve been waiting for more affordable equipment and installation costs,” said Brian Eden, Board Chair of Solar Tompkins, the local nonprofit sponsoring the HeatSmart program. “The wait is over! This year there are better state and federal incentives than ever before, and now is the best time ever to install one of these super-energy-efficient, super-economical systems.”
A few words from our 2018 installer partners
“The NP Environmental team is excited to be a part of this wonderful program in Tompkins County for three years running," said owner Nick Pryputniewicz. "2018 offers the best incentives ever to go geothermal, our recent partnership with Dandelion Energy will help bring this sustainable technology to more homeowners in the region. Looking forward to seeing everyone at an upcoming meeting.”
“Halco is very excited to be an ongoing participating Installer in HeatSmart Tompkins’ 3rd campaign,” said company owner Hal Smith. “We are looking forward to a great year as a company located in and serving Tompkins County. The time has never been better. We look forward to visiting with you at a HeatSmart meeting!”
“Heat pump adoption is an essential part of Tompkins County’s Energy Road Map,” said Gloria Andrea Aguirre, senior planner and energy specialist at Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability. “But it takes grassroots energy to make these changes actually happen. That is why Tompkins County has been a strong supporter of this program since its inception.”
The HeatSmart approach is now spreading across the Northeast, with a statewide HeatSmart group in Massachusetts and others springing up in communities across NY State, Comstock said. But its roots are in Tompkins County. “First with the Solarize movement, now with HeatSmart, community members here in Tompkins County have been at the forefront of providing benefits for Tompkins County residents,” he said.