Last fall, Sustainable Tompkins launched its partnership with HeatSmart Tompkins to combine grants from our Finger Lakes Climate Fund with new incentives for heat pumps to help lower-income families make the transition to high efficiency clean energy for heating and cooling their homes. Despite the pandemic and shutdown of many months, we’ve been steadily at work with our local contractors to process dozens of new awards to families throughout our region.

Since November 2019, we’ve given out 31 Climate Fund grants totaling $51,003 that prevented 3,272 tons of CO2 from entering our atmosphere.  Our Climate Fund awards were matched with 42 additional grants distributed from our NYSERDA/HeatSmart award totaling $78,500 to help pay for the installation of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters in six counties of the Finger Lakes Region. You can tell we’ve been busy!! That’s $129,503 that these modest-income families didn’t have to come up with in order to keep their homes warm.

During this difficult period of dealing with the covid outbreak, our team has kept busy working online to promote our program and connect with our awardees – capturing some of their stories by making outdoor videos this summer to share on our website. It is so very motivating to hear from our grantees how their heat pumps have rescued them from high energy bills, moisture problems, uneven heating, polluted indoor air, and, in several cases, the labor burden of stacking as much as six cords of firewood every year.  For those who had their systems installed last winter or spring, you should have heard them talk about the cheap air conditioning they enjoyed this past summer from their heat pumps!  

We’ll be wrapping up this program over the winter, but hope to continue to partner with the teams at HeatSmart Tompkins, CNY HeatSmart, and Southern Tier HeatSmart to combine our Climate Fund grants with heat pump incentives from NYSERDA for lower-income households across the region.  As New York moves forward with its Climate Action goals, we’ll be seeing even more generous support given to low-income families to transition to clean energy in their homes. Heat pumps cost more upfront than fossil fuel systems, but when we stack up the incentives, it is easy to see what a smart investment they are for those on any income level.

Thanks again to every one of our Climate Fund offsetters! You have accepted responsibility for your carbon emissions by offsetting them with us – thereby helping dozens of seniors, single parents, and young families get out from under the burden of inefficient, polluting fossil fuel heating systems and enjoy their new role at the forefront of the transition to clean energy.