Heating and cooling our buildings accounts for more than a third of the greenhouse gases emitted in New York State. Keeping our buildings warm is is most commonly fueled by oil or methane (aka “natural gas” and propane). As you’ll see below, getting more efficient — through air sealing and insulating our buildings — is the first and most essential step. But as our old heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems require replacement, it’s also critical that we plan and prepare to replace these with electric heat pumps powered by electricity generated with renewable sources (wind, solar, and hydro). Doing so will eliminate the use of fossil fuels to heat and cool buildings and to generate hot water. That will result in cleaner air inside and outside of our homes, and eliminate the acceleration of global warming. Let’s take a quick look at increasing efficiency — that essential first step — before turning to a more detailed look at your transition to heat pump technology.
Weatherstripping and insulation aren’t very sexy compared to solar panels or wind turbines! But using energy more efficiently is essential for the transition to renewables. Here’s why We simply can’t build and install enough solar panels and wind turbines to meet today’s energy demand. But we can do more with less energy, if we use that energy more efficiently. And we’ll save money in the process.
This is often easy to accomplish with very cool, but inexpensive and “low tech” solutions. Efficiency has a faster “payback” than solar or wind, which means that every dollar you invest will be returned faster through lower energy bills. And the savings will continue for years. Many efficiency projects can be DIY or do-it-yourself: completed by homeowners. Those that do require a contractor also build our local economy by providing good jobs and keeping money in our communities, rather than going to a big, distant corporation.
Improving energy efficiency is the most sustainable action we can take in the energy sector: it reduces our carbon and ecological footprint, saves money, and improves our health with cleaner air! See Actions below to get started today!
In order to help you and all Putnam residents make the transition to 100% renewable energy homes, Sustainable Putnam has established the EGG — Eliminate Greenhouse Gases — educational and coaching program, designed to assist you on the path to a 100% renewable energy home or business. See Actions below, or our How to Eliminate Greenhouse Gases page. To make this possible, we’ve partnered with CURE 100, New Yorkers for Clean Power, and the Community Energy Advisors Program at Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Sustainable Putnam has also partnered with Putnam Clean Heating & Cooling to help our Putnam communities make buildings more energy efficient and transition to heat pump technology. Putnam Clean Heating & Cooling is one of more than a half dozen such NYSERDA-sponsored campaigns across the state. Sign up for more information at our local Putnam campaign today!
- Join the EGG (Eliminate Greenhouse Gases) initiative. EGG teaches, coaches, and assists households in the process of eliminating fossil fuels from home heating, cooling, cooking, and transportation uses in your life.
- Homeowners: Do it yourself! Take the first step to save money and energy such as adjusting your thermostat, install programmable thermostats that automatically move to lower temperature settings while you’re out of the house, sealing air leaks, and installing insulation.
- Homeowners: Sign up for a free home energy audit to learn where your home is wasting energy and money, and what savings can be gained. Most New York State residents can get free (or low cost) home energy audits through NYS incentive programs. Own your own or manage a business? An energy audit can lead to cost savings that improve your bottom line.
- Heat and cool your home with geothermal energy. Ground source or air source heat pumps are very efficient forms of space heating, and modern heat pumps also act as air conditioners. Both Central Hudson and Gas and NYSEG utilities offer rebates for these and other energy improvements. See Putnam Clean Heating & Cooling for more information.