CHENANGO COUNTY — The Chenango County Department of Planning and the City of Norwich Department of Community Development have teamed up to educate Chenango County residents on the benefits of HeatSmart Southern Tier heating and cooling pumps.
HeatSmart is a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) outreach program that connects residents and businesses with heating and air condition contractors, and Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow (NEST) serves as the HeatSmart Southern Tier program representative.
From 7 to 8 p.m. at Hidden Springs Brewhouse on December 9, representatives from NEST will give a presentation on air source and ground source heat pump technology, where they are and aren't applicable, steps to getting a pump installed, and possible rebates and tax incentives for installing one.
NEST representatives and their installer partners will also be available to answer questions. The event is free to attend, and light appetizers will be available.
City of Norwich Community Development Director Erik Scrivener said area residents who have already made the switch to air and ground source pumps may be in attendance to share information on what it's really like to use them.
According to Scrivener, the pumps run on electricity which makes them more environmentally friendly, and they are very efficient at keeping homes warm in the winter.
"The efficiency is kind of the side that I always look at: they are one unit for heating and cooling. You know, if you look at the air or ground source heat pumps, it removes window air conditioning units and the need for other things," he said. "Everyone I talk to [says] they are very efficient at heating in the winter as long as the insulation in the homes are done correctly."
NYNEST.org explains that heat pumps "transfer air from one space into another instead of burning fossil fuels to produce heat," making them more eco-friendly than alternative heating methods. Air and ground source pumps also both have the option of working in reverse to cool homes during the warmer months.
The switch to electric-based heating can also provide some savings to homeowners. Although Scrivener said costs of both electricity and fuel oil have risen this year, in the past "people have seen a reduction in their heating costs than if they went with a traditional fuel oil or propane type system to these."
Plus, incentives have been provided in the past by NYSERDA and NYSEG, and tax credits have been available, for installing air and ground source heating pumps. Scrivener said currently available incentives will be covered during the presentation.
The HeatSmart Southern Tier program is also a part of the Clean Energy Communities and Climate Smart Communities programs, both of which Chenango County and the City of Norwich are a part of. If enough air or ground source pumps are installed, the city and the county could receive grant funding through the Clean Energy Communities program.
"Our target is five projects in the city. I believe the county is ten is what they are looking at, and that’s based on the different types of government, countywide versus citywide," said Scrivener. "But if there are projects completed within the city, they can count as county projects as well. So that’s why we're partnering. We’re hoping to get our five in the city at least and then that'll contribute not only to us getting a grant from NYSERDA, but also contribute to Chenango County."
The grant funding, if awarded, would be cycled right back into the area to implement even more energy efficient and climate friendly investments.
Scrivener encourages area residents to stop by Hidden Springs on December 9 to learn more about energy efficient heating and cooling.
"The technology has improved quite a bit and we’re hoping to see some residents put them in. We’ve seen them pop up at a few places," he said. "Norwich Housing has already put in a number of units on their Broad Street site. I don’t remember how many, but they were working great there. We’ve heard directly from the director over there that they’re very happy with the heating and cooling of those units."
For more information on heat pump technology or to sign up to install an air or ground source heat pump, visit NYNEST.org.