CNY community program pushes geothermal energy to decrease costs, harm to environment

Nov 28, 2018

A two-year community-based campaign has started in central New York meant to drive down heating and cooling costs and greenhouse gas emissions by using geothermal energy.

The campaign is called HeatSmart CNY, and it helps homeowners install ground-source and air-source heat pumps designed for cold climates. 

HeatSmart CNY program manager Lindsay Speer explained how these pumps work.

“There’s energy in the air and earth around us all the time,” Speer said. “There’s heat there. And so, what air source and ground source heat pumps do is they capture that energy and compress it and bring it into your home, pumping up the heat to the temperature you want in your house.”

It is a heating and cooling method that has been used in other parts of the country for years. Improved technology has made it more feasible for colder climates. Typical homes using oil or propane heat can save up to $1,800/year in fuel costs after installing heat pumps. 

Chris Carrick, Energy Program manager for the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, said while solar energy reduced electricity use in the state, this initiative is integral to reach another New York state energy goal: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent before 2030.

“The largest source of our greenhouse gas emissions come from heating and cooling,” Carrick said. “So, if we don’t address that by switching folks to geothermal or air-source heat pumps, we won’t meet that goal.”

HeatSmart CNY is holding a number of workshops and open houses in the coming weeks to explain how it all works.