WINCHESTER - Are you still waiting to improve your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your use of fossil fuels and save money, too?
Good news! Due to overwhelming demand, Winchester’s HeatSmart program has extended the deadline for residents to sign up for an installer site visit to Oct. 31. Residents will now have until Jan. 31, 2020 to sign a contract. Installation does not need to be completed by the deadline to utilize HeatSmart discounts and other incentives. However, some incentives will be decreasing as of Jan. 1, 2020.
“If you’ve been thinking about installing energy-saving systems in your home, now is the time to act,” said Winchester’s Heat Smart co-coach Alan Field. “Incentives are especially good for technologies replacing oil, propane and electric baseboard heating. But if you are needing to replace an aging heating, central AC, or hot water heating system, this is a great opportunity to move away from fossil fuel-based systems. Heat Smart technologies can also be incorporated into new construction and renovation projects.”
The volunteer team is offering many opportunities in the next several weeks for residents to learn more about these heating and cooling technologies and to ask questions of the installers and folks who have some of these technologies already in their home.
Meet the Installers
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Wright Locke Farm in Winchester, the volunteer Heat Smart team is hosting its final Meet the Installers event where residents will hear about each of the four offered technologies for clean heating and cooling. After a presentation by each installer, attendees will have an opportunity to speak with the installers as well as residents who have adopted these technologies.
• Air Source Heat Pumps (“mini-splits”) – New England Ductless
These cold-climate air source heat pumps move heat efficiently from one place to another. In the summer, they transfer heat out of a building, working like an air conditioner, cooling and dehumidifying the building. In the winter, they run in reverse, heating the building even with outdoor temperatures below zero. Both ductless and ducted systems can be installed.
• Ground Source Heat Pumps (“geothermal”) – EnergySmart Alternatives
Similar to air source heat pumps, this technology uses the earth’s relatively constant temperature of approximately 50 degrees to transfer heat to or from a building, providing both heating and cooling for year-round comfort. These are whole-home, ducted systems.
• Solar Hot Water – New England Solar Hot Water
Solar hot water panels use solar energy directly to heat a liquid which is circulated, transfering this heat to water for domestic hot water use, generally as a supplement to an existing system. When sized properly and placed in an optimal location, a solar hot water system will be able to provide 70-80 percent of a home's annual hot water needs. Incentives and the 30 percent Federal tax credit make this an easy way to reduce fossil fuel dependence.
• Modern Wood Heat – Caluwe
Modern wood heating systems are central heating systems, which means they directly replace fossil fuel boilers and furnaces and integrate with your existing system. They are automated and self-cleaning which means no constant daily loading and cleaning are required. These highly efficient modern systems use wood pellets created from sawdust, waste wood, and other by-products of the forestry industry resulting in a higher-quality, cleaner burning, and more sustainable fuel.
Open Houses Planned
Residents in both Winchester and Arlington will host open houses to give others the opportunity to see installed systems and to hear about others’ experience with them.
• Condo with single-zone mini-split as supplemental heating plus cooling - Saturday Sept. 28, 10 - noon
• Single-family home with multi-zone mini-splits as supplemental heating/cooling -
• Sunday Oct. 6, 4:40 - 6:30 p.m.
• Whole-home heating with multi-zone mini-splits - Tuesday Oct. 15, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Check the website for further information and updates to the list of open houses at www.HeatSmartAW.org.
Many satisfied customers so far
One such customer is Damon Bosetti, a member of Arlington’s Clean Energy Future Committee, who recently installed a HeatSmart air source heat pump.
“I enjoy the system’s comfort and safety, and doing our part to fight climate change. I’m a big supporter of the work the HeatSmart team is leading. After last year’s Merrimack Valley gas line explosions, and the growing understanding of the health impacts of particulate matter in the air from combustion appliances, my wife and I wanted an all-electric home.”
Because the installers are vetted and pre-selected, Bosetti said the installation was easier than expected. However, because he owns an older home, he had to budget time and money to clean and seal the existing ductwork that was re-used with the new system.
“We haven’t needed to heat yet, but the air source heat pump also does a great job providing central air conditioning in the summer.”
Bosetti also installed a heat pump hot water heater and heat pump clothes dryer.
“Our new clothes dryer is much gentler on our clothes, and the water heater is practically silent and uses only 1 kWh of energy per day.”
When having a whole-home heat pump system installed, Bosetti recommends that customers ask to see the math behind the proposal.
“Heat pumps are new in our area, so make sure the system sizing is backed up by a ‘Manual J’ calculation, which indicates how many BTUs the system needs during the coldest and hottest months of the year.”
New England Ductless performs the ‘Manual J’ calculation for its whole-home systems.
Bosetti’s whole-home HeatSmart air-source heat pump
What Is HeatSmart?
HeatSmart is a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) which funds this program. Details about the program are at www.heatsmartarlington.com. This community-based program uses group purchasing to help drive down the cost for clean heating and cooling technology installations. Vetted installers provide quality equipment and installation and, along with local volunteers, help customers understand these new technologies.