Expensive annual heating and cooling bills may be a thing of the past for many homes and buildings in the Central New York region with the new HeatSmart CNY campaign. Organized by the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB), Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and a team of volunteers, this two-year community-based campaign for Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego counties aims to help home and building owners install ground source (“geothermal”) and air source heat pumps designed for cold climates, as well as heat pump water heaters. Central New York was also awarded an additional $350,000 in funding for related workforce development and low-to-moderate income household projects.
The City of Syracuse publicly announced its support for HeatSmart CNY today, after the Common Council unanimously passed a memorializing resolution on Wednesday, November 7th.
“The city of Syracuse is excited that NYSERDA chose Central New York as the pilot for this $500,000 campaign, which will make efficient heat pumps accessible to low and moderate income households and promote jobs in this growing industry,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “This will help residents more efficiently warm their homes and add to the growing list of efficient geothermal buildings in Syracuse, like the Hotel Skyler, Jefferson Clinton Commons, and the Pike Block.”
HeatSmart CNY builds on local Solarize campaigns and the HeatSmart Tompkins strategy to make the process of switching heat sources relatively easy. The campaign will offer free public workshops and open house visits to help people understand the technologies available, the importance of air sealing and insulation, and the rebates and incentives currently available from New York State, the Federal government, and utility companies.
Three installer teams –Halco, Snug Planet, and Geotherm / ACES-Energy—were selected by the HeatSmart CNY Steering Committee after a careful evaluation process. They collectively bring over 35 years of heat pump installation experience to the program. Participants will be able to receive free site assessments from multiple companies and compare quotes. HeatSmart CNY is partnering with experts John Manning and Dick Kornbluth to provide a hotline for home and building owners to help answer any questions.
“Many people don’t realize that even in Upstate New York, we have plenty of heat in the ground and in the air to make cold-climate heat pumps an efficient and economical energy choice,” said Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, a Syracuse resident who is installing ground source heat pump and air source heat pump systems in his home and rental property. “And in the summer months, heat pumps run in reverse to cool and dehumidify our buildings. Heat pumps make our homes more comfortable and safer for our families.”
Efficient electric heat pumps also have the added benefit of being good for the environment. Over 1/3 of New York’s energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions come from heating and cooling buildings, mostly with fossil fuels. Many homeowners across Upstate New York have made their homes effectively “net zero” energy by installing combinations of heat pumps and solar panels. Even when powered by the grid, 49 percent of the electricity produced in Upstate New York came from renewables in 2017 (Source: NYISO 2018 Power Trends Report).
“With the HeatSmart CNY program, the region can make a decisive move toward a sustainable future,” said Lindsay Speer, HeatSmart CNY Program Manager. “If you’ve ever wanted to stop burning fossil fuels as your heat source, this is the opportunity to do it!”
Typical homes using expensive oil or propane heat save $1500-1800/year in fuel costs when they switch to heat pumps. Homes using inefficient baseboard electric and those still using coal are also excellent candidates for switching. Interested property owners can attend any of the free community workshops to enroll in the program or can enroll on-line at HeatSmartCNY.org.
Attending a workshop is not a requirement for participation in HeatSmart CNY, but is strongly encouraged. The kickoff workshop will be held at the South Side Innovation Center located at 2610 South Salina Street, Syracuse on Thursday, November 15 from 6:00 – 7:30pm. The first Open House will be held from 2 – 4:30 PM on Nov. 18 at William Sunderlin’s geothermally heated home at 305 East Genesee Street in Fayetteville (please park on nearby streets). Other workshops and open houses will be held in venues in various neighborhoods and towns within the geographic boundaries of the program and announced in the future.
Individuals and organizations volunteering their time to guide the campaign include Brendon Fox of Home HeadQuarters; Hanna Ring of Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Pompey resident John Shaheen; Marian Brown, Director of the Center for Sustainability and the Environment at Wells College; Sarah Krisch, Senior Planner for Madison County; Sha’Sha Wheat of Hope 4 Us Housing; Sally Ward of P.E.A.C.E. Inc., geothermal homeowner William Sunderlin; and Syracuse resident and sustainability strategist Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, who is currently installing a geothermal system in his home.
For more information, or to sign up for a workshop, go to HeatSmartCNY.org, email
info@HeatSmartCNY.org, or call Lindsay Speer at 315.480.1515.