The Solar for All program helps renters and homeowners get solar energy at no-cost. Program eligibility is based on your location and household income. More info on the Solar for All program.
A few days ago, the 2017 NYGATS report was finalized. "How exciting!," you say.
What’s a NYGATS report? The New York Generation Attribute Tracking System is an auditing system that verifies electricity generated, imported, and consumed in New York State.
Why should you care? NYGATS spells out each utility’s and ESCO’s “Environmental Disclosure Label”, showing fuel sources and air emissions to generate your electricity. You don’t like what you see? You’re in luck…You can change it!
What are NYSEG’s fuel sources and air emissions? Take a look at the table. Stunning, yes? Over the past decade, our electricity supply continues to be dominated by natural gas, and even with the blessing of our New York hydroelectric power, renewables supply less than 18% of our electricity.
Why not change this to 100%? You CAN! How? Simply by obtaining your supply from an ESCO supplying 100% renewable electricity. See this month’s 100% renewable energy ESCO update.
Can you still do this if you've purchased your own solar panels at your home or in a community solar garden or you subscribe to community solar program? Yes!
You already subscribe to a 100% renewable ESCO? Then please share this link with your climate-smart friends who may not.December ESCO Update.
Information provided by Gerri Wiley, a volunteer with HeatSmart, who provides us with regular reports on vetted suppliers.
Yes! Time is still on your side, but don’t let it slip away! Enrollment for the 2018 HeatSmart program continues until midnight tomorrow, Saturday, December 15th. And doing the enrollment form only takes a couple minutes!
Perhaps you have already opened this message and made your own decision to act. But have you shared it with your friends? They deserve HeatSmart too! So please please be our ambassador and forward this message to your friends and acquaintances.
Remember, enrollment carries no obligations and provides a free assessment of the benefits of heating and cooling smart in your home.
The Ithaca Week at Ithaca College featured a story on how people in Tompkins County are greening up their homes while staying cozy. HeatSmart program director Jonathan Comstock was interviewed for this story.
Thank you for being a part of the HeatSmart community. Whether you have started on the path to switch from space and water heating fueled by oil, propane, and natural gas to high-efficiency heat pumps, or you are just learning about it, we want to remind you that we are here to help you with information, education, home tours and access to vetted installers. We know how important it is to keep your home warm and cozy while keeping costs down!
Email a friend! Use this template to help more people get HeatSmart.
SUBJECT HEADLINE: HeatSmart Tompkins Community Meeting – Heat Pumps for home heating and cooling – attend an upcoming program on _____
[Please ADD an UPCOMING DATE] 10/23, 11/1, 11/8, 11/20
Are you looking to save on your home heating and cooling bills? Do you want to improve the comfort and air quality in your home? Are you trying to reduce reliance on fossil fuels?
HeatSmart Tompkins is a non-profit community organization that helps you navigate the heat pump technologies, answer your questions, and introduce you to vetted partner installers. They host community meetings and home tours to help people get informed.
HeatSmart Tompkins is holding community meetings and home tours in Tompkins County, Tioga County, and Chemung County. Visit their schedule online and find one convenient for you: http://www.solartompkins.org/community-meetings.html
Oct 23 (Tues) — Dryden
Varna Community Center
943 Dryden Road, Ithaca, NY 14850
Join and share our Facebook event.
Nov 1 (Thur) — City of Ithaca
Tompkins County Public Library, Borg Warner Room
101 E Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850
Join and share our Facebook event.
Nov 8 (Thur) Van-Etten (Chemung County)
Van Etten Community Center
6 Gee St./NY34, Van Etten, NY
Join and share our Facebook event.
Nov 20 (Tues) - Groton
Groton Public Library
112 E. Cortland St., Groton, NY 13073
Join and share our Facebook event.
Saturday, Oct. 27th, 10am-noon
David Weinstein and Christina Stark
Heat Pump(s): 5-ton GSHP for space heating & cooling and hot water. Solar tracking solar panel array.
51 Freese Road, Ithaca, NY 14850
(Please park across the street from the house)
Join and share our Facebook event.
Saturday, Nov. 10th, 10am-noon
Charlie and Kathy Woodcock
Heat Pump(s): 3-ton Air source heat pump whole-home system; includes both multi-zone and single-zone units
167 Crescent Place, Ithaca, NY 14850
Join and share our Facebook event.
This year is perhaps the Best Year Ever for installing geothermal. Last year, people who bought geothermal systems got a wonderful surprise just before tax time. The federal 30% tax credit was restored and they got an unexpected $10 thousand dollars or more to subtract from their tax bills.
If you didn’t buy your system last year, it’s not too late to get a great deal, but act this year. Only for this next year do we have the combination of the NYSERDA incentive AND the federal tax credit, because the NYSERDA incentive will expire in 2019. So don’t miss out. There are some great deals to be had by acting now!
Go to link: NYSERDA incentive
Go to link: Federal Tax Credit
Jay Egg of Egg Geothermal discusses the basics of geothermal and examines how far geothermal can go towards a renewable energy future.
Presented by the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council and HeatSmart Tompkins.
Co-sponsored by Campaign for Renewable Energy, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Sustainable Tompkins, Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).
Commercial Energy Workshop
Wednesday, October 24, from 3 – 5 PM
BorgWarner East Room, Tompkins County Public Library (101 E. Green St., Ithaca)
Join us at the Commercial Energy Workshop, a FREE two-hour workshop intended to introduce various programs that can help businesses save energy and money.
For more information, please see the attached workshop flyer, and RSVP to Andrea Aguirre (email@example.com) by Monday, October 15. Light refreshments will be provided.
Clean Heating and Cooling Workshop
Wednesday, October 10, from 5 – 7 PM
REV Ithaca Startup Works (314 E. State St., Ithaca)
Do you own or manage a business or rental units? Come learn how heat pumps can heat and cool your building at this FREE event. These super-efficient systems can save you money and keep your building occupants more comfortable all year long!
Presenters include representatives from Energize NY, NYSERDA, Mitsubishi, Empower Equity, and the Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability. Brought to you by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, the Landlords Association of Tompkins County, and HeatSmart Tompkins.
By Jonathan Comstock
Beneficial electrification* needs to become a familiar household concept just like the value of renewable energy. Renewable energy comes from sources that are self-renewing, like solar, wind and hydropower. But merely converting our current electric use to renewably sourced electricity is not enough. We also need to eliminate the current reliance on fossil fuels in our transportation and home heating systems because they account for the vast majority of our energy use.
The point is that we have excellent opportunities to adopt superior electric technologies for transportation and to heat and cool our homes. When we do this, our total electric use will go up. But our total energy use will drop substantially because of the elimination of fossil fuel use and the tremendous increases in energy efficiency as we shift to these modern electric technologies.
Bryan Roy’s “Signs of Sustainability” article went into considerable depth on electric vehicles and the growing infrastructure to support them in Tompkins County. If you missed it, check it out online.
Now, let’s focus on the most substantial use of energy directly within the home, which is — home heating and cooling.
A great place to start is in upgrading the insulation and air-sealing of a home.
A much more significant percentage than necessary of the energy used in heating and cooling is simply wasted due to the inefficiency of the building itself to retain heat. Although modern building codes are much improved, many older homes in Tompkins County were often built with minimal thought for building efficiency. This inefficiency results in a tremendous waste of money in unnecessary heating and cooling and also poor comfort due to cold spots and drafts.
Once you are satisfied with the insulation of your home, the next step is to change the heating system itself. Wood and pellet stoves are potentially economical and renewable since the biomass can regrow. For many, this may be a good option. Nonetheless, they are less scalable than heat pumps and still have all the issues of air quality associated with burning stuff inside your home. Heat pumps, with no combustion at all in your basement, bedrooms or living room, are simply the cleanest and healthiest option available.
One of the obstacles people run into, however, is their lack of familiarity with heat pump technologies.
You may be surprised to know you already have a heat pump in your home. You grew up with it, rely on it, and trust it without any doubts. It’s called a refrigerator. Heat pumps, whether air source or ground source varieties, all use that same basic process with which you already feel comfortable.
But obstacles may still exist because you do not have a cherished brand or feel confident that you know what features are essential and what is the best equipment for your budget. One solution to this problem is the HeatSmart Tompkins program. HeatSmart is a local, non-profit, and volunteer-led program in which residents help other residents by pulling together and sharing some simple what-you-need-to-know information. HeatSmart will walk you through the options and point the way towards vetted equipment and installers.
The best way to take advantage of this resource is to come to one of the HeatSmart public meetings.
You can find the full schedule and all the time and location details on the website.
If you haven’t any experience with heat pumps for heating and cooling, you may want to attend some HeatSmart tours where you can meet and talk to people, just like you, only they recently made the leap. Find out how they feel about the process and the final result. The full tour schedule is also on the website.
Finally, on the website you can also find a heating news blog, various fact sheets and a place to enroll in the HeatSmart program, which costs nothing and carries no obligation. Especially if your home is heated with a fuel like heating oil or propane, you will find that you not only come out ahead with greater comfort and healthier home, but you can also save quite a bit of money.
Jonathan Comstock is the HeatSmart Tompkins Program Director.
A version of this article was originally published in the Tompkins Weekly.
*Beneficial electrification: is a term for replacing direct fossil fuel use (e.g., propane, heating oil, gasoline) with electricity in a way that reduces overall emissions and energy costs. There are many opportunities across the residential and commercial sectors. This can include switching to an electric vehicle or an electric heating system – as long as the end-user and the environment both benefit. Source: Environmental and Energy Study Institute
The 2018 HeatSmart campaign begins on Thursday, August 9 with an information session at the New Brooktondale Firehall (786 Valley Road in Caroline). Additional community meetings will be offered throughout Tompkins County and surrounding areas. For the latest schedule, visit our Community Meeting page.
“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.
HeatSmart is contributing trivia questions for the August 3rd trivia night at Brookton's Market. Come for a beer and test your HeatSmarts!
Brookton's Market is located at:
491 Brooktondale Rd, Brooktondale, NY 14817
Are you interested in being one of our 2018 installer partners?
Download our 2018 RFP.
Home energy program serves as model for communities across state
The HeatSmart home energy program, which helps Tompkins County homeowners connect with local heating and cooling contractors, closes its 2017 season with a public information session at The Space @ Greenstar on Tuesday, May 30, at 6 p.m.
“If you’ve been meaning to get to a meeting, this is your chance,” said program director Jonathan Comstock. “It’s a great way to fight global warming while making your household more comfortable year-round.”
A program of the local nonprofit Solar Tompkins, HeatSmart works to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in Tompkins County by promoting home sealing, insulation, and super-efficient heat pump systems. In this area, roughly 75 percent of home energy use goes to heating and cooling. Most of that energy is provided by fossil fuels.
Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from one place to another, providing warmth in the winter and cooling in the summer. By switching from traditional furnaces and air conditioners, homeowners with access to solar or wind power can drastically reduce their carbon footprints.
HeatSmart has held 20 community meetings so far this year in all ten of the county’s municipalities. The meetings allow homeowners to learn about heat pumps and meet three vetted installers – Halco, NP Environmental, and Snug Planet – with no obligation. The program is being used as a model for similar efforts across the state.
The May 30 event will begin at 6 p.m. with free wine tasting organized by Six Mile Creek Vineyard. The information session will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Space @ Greenstar is located at 700 W. Buffalo St. in Ithaca.
In order to help us plan for the event registration is helpful, but not required.
With funding from the Park Foundation and CCETC, Taitem engineering just released a very exciting report comparing energy use, carbon emissions, and cost for furnaces versus heat pumps. In new construction, the ASHP were even more cost effective than a gas furnace. Both air source and ground source heat pumps produce huge reductions in energy use and emissions.
What your neighbors are saying about HeatSmart...
HeatSmart Installer: Halco
HeatSmart Installer: NP Environmental
HeatSmart Installer: Snug Planet
HeatSmart Program Director Jonathon Comstock chats with Lee Rayburn of WHCU on the Morning Newswatch.
Thanks to Liz Thomas for a great opinion piece in the Ithaca Journal! Even old farmhouses can join in the transition to clean energy.
HeatSmart program offers low-cost efficiency
by Elizabeth Thomas
Most people have noticed or believe climate change to be an issue of concern, and in this era, it is doubtful the federal government will be working to find renewable energies to help stem greenhouse gas production.
We are fortunate in Tompkins County to have assistance through the HeatSmart program to find more efficient ways to heat homes. Read more
HeatSmart volunteers gather at Stewart Park to pick up yard signs and celebrate the start of the program's second season. Photo by Kathleen Gifford. (For high resolution version of image click here)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Jonathan Comstock, program director
firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 607-351-1752
Now in its second year, HeatSmart program to serve as model for communities across state
ITHACA – A group of Tompkins County residents is launching a series of community meetings to help homeowners sort through their options for curbing their homes’ energy appetites through sealing, insulation, and high-efficiency heat pumps.
The HeatSmart program begins its second season on February 21 with an information session at the Brooktondale Community Center in Caroline. It is the first of 19 open community meetings around the county offered by the nonprofit group Solar Tompkins. For a complete schedule, visit SolarTompkins.org.