SOMERVILLE – A new City of Somerville program will offer homeowners and local businesses discounts on an alternative heating and cooling technology that can operate more cheaply and efficiently than some traditional systems. For a limited time (through Dec. 15), the HeatSmart/CoolSmart program will provide discounts on the installation of what are known as “air source heat pumps,” which can both heat and cool homes at lower usage costs than oil and electric heating systems and window air conditioning units.
To help property owners determine if heat pumps are a good fit for their needs, community volunteers will assist in a range of outreach efforts. They’ll be led by Somerville resident Molly Shanley, who is serving as the HeatSmart/CoolSmart Coach. To start, residents can learn more about heat pumps at the HeatSmart/CoolSmart Kick-off event Tuesday, August 22, at the Argenziano School. Any interested Somerville property owners may also visit www.somervillema.gov/hscs to learn about pricing and rebates, and to sign up for a no-cost site visit to explore options.
“This program can be helpful both to owners just looking to reduce their utility bills, as well as to those looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint—or, of course, both,” said Russell Koty, Environmental Housing Programs Manager. “Like solar, heat pumps do require an upfront investment to purchase them, but that cost can be recouped over time via the savings you should see on your heating and cooling costs if you currently have an electric or oil-based system. And while gas heat is still more affordable than heat pump systems, for people looking to reduce their personal contribution to climate change, heat pumps are a cleaner, lower-carbon alternative to gas conversion.”
The programs aims to help property owners better afford heat pump technology in several ways. First, the two installers participating in the program are offering a discount of up to 15% on heat pump units. Next, Mass Clean Energy Center and MassSave® are offering residents additional rebates if they also take part in the no-cost Home Energy Assessment offered through the MassSave® program. Additionally, heat pump units can be financed through the 0% interest HEAT Loan. Finally, based on income, residents may also be eligible to purchase their heat pump via the Somerville Housing Rehab program, a forgivable loan program. The program itself is partially funded by a grant awarded to Somerville by the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, which aims to help participating communities reach their carbon reduction goals.
The two HeatSmart/CoolSmart installers are N.E.R.T. of North Andover and New England Ductless of Milton, which were both chosen through competitive procurement to provide below average regional costs to Somerville homeowners and businesses for purchasing and installing cold climate air source heat pumps.
“HeatSmart/CoolSmart was created to help give Somerville residents and businesses better options for heating and cooling. That includes replacing old fossil fuel-based boilers and furnaces and old, noisy window air conditioning units with high-efficiency air source heat pumps that can not only save money, but also improve the comfort of your home year-round while reducing your carbon footprint. We hope to see everyone interested at the kick-off event,” said Christine Andrews, Housing and Environment Programs Coordinator.
Details: The HeatSmart/CoolSmart program will run August 7 through December 15, 2017. The Kickoff Event is at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 22, at the Argenziano School, 290 Washington St. For more information about how to participate in the program OR to assist with volunteer outreach efforts, please contact HeatSmart/CoolSmart coach Molly Shanley at email@example.com or visit www.somervillema.gov/hscs. Additional information about Somerville’s residential energy programs can be found at www.somervillema.gov/seen or by contacting the Housing and Environment Programs Office at 617-625-6600 ext. 2567.
Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or NSalamoun@somervillema.gov.