By Jonathan Comstock, Solar Tompkins HeatSmart Program Director

GreenStar members can be proud of their co-op for making sustainable energy use a key design criteria for the new store nearing completion at 770 Cascadilla Street.  This includes enhanced energy efficiency measures such as excellent insulation of the building envelope and using Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) to heat and air condition the new store. These features provide benefits during building in the form of energy efficiency grants and low-interest loans. After construction, they will provide a cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable store to work and shop in.  And in the big picture, you, the GreenStar member-owners, are simultaneously making a real contribution to sustainability and a future that is not jeopardized by climate change and pollution.

But it isn’t just large commercial buildings that can benefit from energy efficiency and heat pumps. The creative cool cats at HeatSmart are working on getting their claws into your heating costs at home and whittling them down from rat to mouse-sized. We want you to enjoy all the heat pump benefits of comfort, safety, and a positive future. HeatSmart is a community non-profit that seeks to make resources, both educational and financial, available to everyone in order to build that resilient future together. We make no profit from any related sales, and we are here to help YOU. Use us as a resource!

The future is for all of us, and we need to build that desired future together. Healthy sustainable homes are a big part of any positive future scenario you can imagine or dream. Home heating (and cooling) account for 70% of the energy use in the average NY home. Right now, that is mostly from fossil fuels, bringing high costs and climate disasters as their inescapable side effects. Be a cool cat yourself by getting HeatSmart — making your home energy efficient, switching to heat pumps, and powering them with renewable electric energy.

While the cost of running heat pumps is quite low and can sometimes save you a lot of money, the up-front installation costs tend to be higher than for other heating systems and this can be a barrier. So, it’s important to know that there are some tremendous incentives available for heat pumps right now. Both ground-source and air-source systems are more affordable than ever before. How to take advantage of these incentivized opportunities will be an essential part of an upcoming HeatSmart presentation at GreenStar. But there is more!

HeatSmart Tompkins and Sustainable Tompkins have partnered and raised additional grant money to support even more heat pump incentives for income-qualified enrollees making <80% of median income in Tompkins County. We will go into this in more detail at the Classrooms @ GreenStar on Nov. 19, from 7 to 8:15 pm. The presentation is free and open to all, but participants must register by calling 607-273-9392 or visiting the GreenStar website. To give you a sneak preview of how affordable some of this technology can be: an electric air-source water heater might have an installed price tag of $2,750. But by combining NY State, NYSEG, Finger Lakes Climate Fund, and HeatSmart LMI incentives, the final cost to you might be as little as $270. That is less than it would cost to install a traditional electric resistance water heater, but the heat pump version will operate, heating water for your home, at less than half the cost! Please come and learn more about these opportunities spanning the range from air-source to ground-source heat pump options.

See you at GreenStar!