Geo Blogs

Canadian Study: Heat Pumps Are Better Than Efficiency For CO2 Reduction From Existing Buildings January 04 2021

From Clean Technica's Michael Barnard's article, "For CO2 Reduction From Existing Buildings, Heat Pumps Are Better Than Efficiency," dated December 28, 2020:

For well over a year, I've been pulling on a specific thread of CO2e emissions reductions related to existing building stock. Back in September of 2019, I did an assessment of efficiency vs electrification gains for buildings, and asserted that electrification would deliver more CO2e value, and that efficiency would become simply a building budget management issue.

...[H]eat pumps are the winners on the lower carbon grids across the province. I'll remind you that all grids are decarbonizing and will do so even faster now that the carbon price is going to increase to $170 [CAD] per ton. By 2030, my projection is that Alberta's grid carbon intensity per kWh will be down around the median for Canada today. ...[T]hat means heat pumps are going to be CO2e winners in Alberta in the coming years as well. …From a governmental policy perspect

ve, the lesson is clear. Heat pumps and decarbonization of grids are the climate change winners for existing buildings. For building owners, the annual cost savings are greater, sometimes much greater, for efficiency measures. That means governmental action to bridge the fiscal gap for building owners for heat pump intervention and grid decarbonization are highest priority, and that efficiency measures should be left to building owners.

Read the full article here.

Thanks to NY-GEO member Paul Coons for this tip.

CO2e Saved HP vs Efficiency


NY-GEO One of 150 Orgs Urging End of Fossil-Fuel Subsidies in NY January 04 2021

NY-GEO was one of 150 organizations in NYS to sign this letter dated December 29, 2020:

Dear Messrs. Cuomo, Heastie, Ortt, Barclay and Ms. Stewart-Cousins:

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to eliminate certain fossil fuel related tax expenditures in the SFY 2021-22 budget. As the climate emergency, COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent financial crisis escalate, New York cannot afford to continue subsidizing the fossil fuel industry with hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Reviewing and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies is critical to both addressing our state's budget shortfall and combating the climate crisis.

Read full letter here.


DEC Announces Finalization of 'Value of Carbon' January 04 2021

From the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) press release dated Dec. 30, 2020:

DEC Announces Finalization of 'Value of Carbon' Guidance to Help Measure Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Guidance Marks the Latest Milestone in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Implementation

Updated Values for Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide to Inform New York's Actions to Reduce Emissions

...Use of the lower central discount rate translates into a 2020 central value of carbon dioxide of $125 per ton; methane of $2,782 per ton; and nitrous oxide of $44,727 per ton. The full set of values for 2020-2050 is provided in the Appendix to the guidance.

The Value of Carbon Guidance announced today and supplemental documents are available on DEC's website.

You can download the PDF of "Establishing a Value of Carbon" here.

Sources of GHG in NYS

 


Heat Pump Installers needed in FLX December 28 2020

HeatSmart FLX South, serving the Finger Lakes region, consisting of Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, and Yates Counties, has released a request for proposals (RFP). The RFP is seeking multiple installers of clean heating and cooling technologies (heat pumps) and home energy efficiency/weatherization to work closely as trusted campaign partners to serve participants in its program. Participants will include homeowners, small businesses owners and non-profit organizations.

You can find these documents and additional details here: HeatSmart FLX South Contractors webpage, HeatSmart FLX South Request for Proposals PDF.

Questions must be submitted to heatsmartflxs@cornell.edu by January 13, 2021 and replies will be posted on the HeatSmart FLX South Contractors webpage by January 18, 2021. The application due date is January 25, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. ET.

NYS FLX map outlined

2020: Watt a Year for Building Electrification! December 28 2020

From the Rocky Mountain Institute, December 16th, 2020:

From all-electric building codes to heat pump deployments, here is a look back at some of the most noteworthy state-level progress on building electrification this year. Together, these developments demonstrate the growing realization among policymakers that eliminating emissions from buildings is integral to limiting global warming to 1.5°C [2.7°F].

Thanks to NY-GEO member Paul Coons for this tip.

Clean Technica breaks down the actions by state, which are starred in the map below.

2020 Momentum for BE map


Coronavirus Aid Package Signed! December 28 2020

The $900 billion Covid relief bill was signed last night.

The stimulus package contains a number of provisions good for the Geothermal Heat Pump industry.

  • Section 48 Commercial Tax credits for Geothermal (still only 10%) are extended to include systems whose construction begins before January 1, 2024.

  • Section 25D Personal Tax credits:
    • Extended to systems placed in service before January 1, 2024.
    • Phasedown of the credit has been slowed. Systems installed before 2023 will get 26% while systems installed during 2023 will get 22%.
  • Section 179D "Energy efficient commercial buildings deduction" is:
    • Made permanent.
    • Will be inflation adjusted in the future
    • Various other changes are made to reflect the permanent nature of the provision. (e.g. The ASHRAE standards in effect 2-years previously will be used as the reference.)

Thanks to NY-GEO member Bob Wyman for this analysis.

Here's the PDF of the text of the 5,593 page legislative package

Further articles on the tax bill and its energy provisions can be found in Green Tech Media, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), CBS News, Utility Dive and Project Finance Law. The focus of most of those articles is on the solar and wind provisions of the bill.


NYSERDA: $10M for Demonstration Study for Heat Pumps in LMI Buildings December 21 2020

NYSERDA is making a $10 million investment in a Demonstration Study for Heat Pumps in LMI Buildings to spur electrification in the low- to moderate-income (LMI) housing sector. The funding will provide a pool of real-world projects to use to study practical barriers and measure impacts on and benefits to LMI households from the installation of heat pumps as part of comprehensive energy efficiency programs. The demonstration effort is expected to see funds awarded within the next year and will see project implementation and evaluation that takes place over a 1-to-3-year period.

$5 million is available to qualified contractors to install heat pumps in approximately 500 LMI single family residential homes through NYSERDA's EmPower and Assisted Home Performance Programs. An additional $5 million is available to serve approximately 3,000 multifamily affordable units through NYSERDA's Multifamily Performance Program.

These projects will allow the state to study and develop best practices and incentive structures for increased heat pump adoption for the LMI housing sector across the state — helping those who need it most.

For single family, there is a contractor resources page that includes required project documentation and Frequently Asked Questions.

For multifamily, Multifamily Building Solutions Providers can download PDFs for information on participation and Frequently Asked Questions or via the MPP Provider Portal.


NYSERDA Announces Tax Credit Bridge Loan December 21 2020

On December 17th NYSERDA unveiled a short-term loan product which enables residential customers to finance federal and state tax credits for eligible renewable energy system products. On January 4, 2021, contractors may begin submitting project scopes and pro-formas for customers who are eligible for a Smart Energy or On-Bill Loan and request the Bridge Loan.

The Bridge Loan will be available to GJGNY financing customers who want to borrow a portion of the renewable energy system cost that may be eligible for a federal or state income tax credits or NYC Real Property Tax Abatement.

Funded through the GJGNY Loan fund, these Bridge Loans can be paired with a traditional GJGNY Term Loan (combined loan amounts cannot exceed $25,000) and a Companion Loan. Separate loan documents and notes will be issued for the Bridge Loan, GJGNY Term Loan and the Companion Loan. NYSERDA's loan originator, Slipstream (EFS), will originate all loans simultaneously.

See the full statement from NYSERDA here.


NYSERDA 80% Co-op Ad Support Until 12/31/2020 December 21 2020

From a NYSERDA email:

The Cooperative (Co-op) Advertising and Training Program for Clean Energy Partners provides cost-sharing incentives to support advertising, special promotions and/or events, including training, for eligible clean energy technologies including cold-climate air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, energy efficiency (i.e. air sealing and insulation), and high-efficiency low-emission wood heating systems…

To assist with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, NYSERDA will pay up to 80 percent of the cost of approved advertising, promotion or training activities for applications submitted before 3:00 p.m. ET on December 31, 2020. Beginning January 1, 2021, NYSERDA will pay up to 50 percent of the cost of approved advertising, promotion or training activities through December 31, 2022, or until all funds have been committed.

Potential applicants are required to read the Co-op Advertising and Training Program Manual for eligibility and requirements.

For the Summary of Revisions and all Associated Documents visit PON 4482 Solicitation Detail Page.

Comptroller DiNapoli: NYS Pension Fund to Divest from Fossil Fuels December 14 2020

From Sustainable Finger Lakes:

In essence, New York State's Comptroller, who is the sole custodian of the state $226 billion pension fund has announced that his office will:
  1. Decarbonize the pension fund's full portfolio by 2040 with interim targets
  2. Complete a systematic review of all fossil fuel investments within 4 years, including divesting from any companies which don't have a plan to leave fossil fuels behind. This includes transitioning their business away from oil and gas production, servicing or transportation, and alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement
  3. Engage in rigorous reporting including annual in-depth reports on implementation plus media announcements each time a review is undertaken and completed. Hiring of new staff to implement the plan.
  4. Commit to a higher level of director engagement including voting against board directors at non-fossil fuel companies that aren't taking climate action in line with the fund's decarbonization goal.
Read more about the announcement in the DivestNY Coalition media release and this background document.

If you’d like to thank the Comptroller through the 350.org website, click here.

Read Bill McKibben's NY Times Op Ed here. In it he suggests that the once-dominant fossil fuel industry has reached a low in financial and political power.

And this, from an editorial in the Albany Times Union:

This is not some feel-good political move. It's an acknowledgment from the nation's fourth-largest pension fund — the world's 14th biggest — that companies based on fossil fuels are going to be poor investments in the not-too-distant future. And such a statement from a large-scale investor has the potential to be a self-fulfilling prophecy of its own. It can lower other investors' confidence in fossil-fuel stocks and depress companies' values, in turn making them even less attractive investments.


More on Local Laws Banning Gas Use in New Buildings December 14 2020

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has put together linked list of new building gas bans in the US.

Meanwhile, from Energy & Environment News (E&E News), dated Dec. 8, 2020:

Massachusetts officials are trying to revive what would be the East Coast's first ban on natural gas in buildings, months after the state attorney general struck it down.

In the Boston suburb of Brookline, town legislators voted last week to ask the state Legislature for the right to impose local prohibitions on gas infrastructure. That followed an identical measure passed last month in the town of Arlington, which had previously contemplated similar gas bans.

The votes serve as both towns' response to the July defeat of Brookline's gas ban, which outlawed gas-powered space heating and hot water in new constructions. Brookline had been the first outside California to pass such a ban, but the Massachusetts attorney general's office ruled this summer that the town's bylaw would contradict state building codes, effectively killing it (Energywire, July 24).

"We're basically asking the state Legislature to overrule that [decision from the attorney general]," said Lisa Cunningham, co-sponsor of the Brookline gas ban and an elected official on the Brookline Town Meeting, the town's legislative body.

The aim is to make Massachusetts more like California, where energy officials grant towns and cities much greater latitude to pass building codes requiring electric technologies for heating and cooking. Several dozen California municipalities have placed such restrictions on gas infrastructure, including San Francisco and other large cities, in a policy intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

….Backers of the Brookline gas ban...see their policy as "low-hanging fruit" for climate action, since it would let existing homes keep their gas fuel. And they hope the recent votes in Brookline and Arlington will be the first of an incoming wave from towns in Massachusetts, where the Rocky Mountain Institute, a national clean energy advocate, is helping organize locals.

Brookline MA activists


Clean Heating and Cooling Screenings for Large Buildings December 14 2020

From the NYSERDA Clean Heating and Cooling Screenings for Large Buildings FAQ [PDF]:

The Clean Heating and Cooling (CHC) Screenings for Large Buildings initiative is an offering to encourage electrification of large buildings in New York State. As part of this plan, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is administering the CHC Screenings for Large Buildings initiative, whereby eligible customers can access free screenings to assess the potential benefits of installing clean, efficient alternatives to natural gas for heating and cooling their buildings.

NOTE: This program is available only to owners who pay a System Benefits Charge; this excludes those in the Long Island Power Authority area.

Thanks to Betta Broad of New Yorkers for Clean Power for this tip.


Geothermal Micro-District Concept Moves Ahead in Massachusetts December 07 2020

Two pilot projects in Massachusetts will attempt to deploy geothermal heating across entire neighborhoods — an innovative model that aims to slash fossil fuel use while providing an economical transition for gas utilities and their workers.

"The more we've learned, the more incredible it has seemed," said Audrey Schulman, co-founder and co-executive director of the Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET), a Cambridge-based nonprofit that developed and promoted the geothermal micro-district concept.

Read the full article, "Innovative geothermal micro-district concept moves ahead in Massachusetts."

Thanks to NY-GEO member Joanne Coons for this tip.


Mayor de Blasio Opposes North Brooklyn Pipeline Project December 07 2020

On December 3, 2020 Mayor Bill de Blasio joined with advocates and elected officials to call on National Grid to halt the North Brooklyn Pipeline project. His full press release stated:

"Climate change is an existential threat to our city and we must transition quickly to clean energy. Today, I am voicing my opposition to National Grid's North Brooklyn Pipeline because we cannot justify the environmental impacts on the largely Black and Brown residents of Brooklyn associated with an unnecessary pipeline expansion. Racial and environmental justice go hand-in-hand, and National Grid has failed to clearly demonstrate that this pipeline is needed to keep New Yorkers warm and safe. I am calling on them to withdraw this project immediately," said Mayor de Blasio.

See SANE Energy Project's response here.

Thank you to NY-GEO member Marvin Church for sharing this news article about it from the Bed-Stuy Patch.

Thanks to Kim Fraczek of the SANE Energy Project for this tip.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

 


Clean Heating/Cooling Certificate Program December 07 2020

PUSH Buffalo is partnering with SUNY Erie (formerly Erie Community College) on a green building and clean heating/cooling certificate program as part of its NYSERDA-funded clean heating and cooling work. Registration deadline is January 11th. Questions can be directed to Sarah Burger or Bryana DiFonzo at hiringhallteam@pushbuffalo.org

NatGrid Conversions Gas to HP Needed


More Gas Bans! December 07 2020

Oakland has joined its California counterparts in becoming the 40th community in the state to commit to phasing out gas.

Annie Sciacca reported on December 2, 2020 in the East Bay Times:

Oakland joined dozens of California cities Tuesday in passing an ordinance to ban gas stoves and heaters in new buildings yet to be constructed throughout the city.

The City Council unanimously decided to prohibit newly constructed buildings — both residential and commercial — from connecting to natural gas or propane.

The ordinance, introduced by council members Dan Kalb and Nikki Fortunato Bas and Mayor Libby Schaaf, does not apply to existing buildings and any associated renovations or additions. Neither does it affect attached accessory dwelling units.

Although the law requires new buildings to be equipped with all-electric power sources, it does allow developers to apply for waivers if they believe that isn’t feasible.

Read the full article, "Oakland bans natural gas in most buildings to be constructed."

Thanks to NY-GEO member Bob Wyman for this tip.

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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a proposal to update the city's energy code to ban the use of natural gas in new commercial and large multi-family construction for space and most water heating.

Gas stoves for cooking will still be allowed, but the proposal requires the new multi-family buildings to have electrical outlets near stoves for future conversions to electric.

Read this article in the Seattle Times for more information.

Here is a Clean Technica article on the San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle announcements.


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And in the UK: No Gas in New Builds by 2025. On November 20, 2020 the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) reported confusion on when the gas boiler ban in all newly built homes will begin.

In the BBC article, "Climate pledge on gas boilers for 2023 'vanishes'," Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on the 19th that the ban would be advanced to 2023 (from 2025), but then the date disappeared. It looks like it will remain as 2025.

Patrick Collinson wrote in The Guardian (US Edition) "Heat pumps: have a cosy home without warming the planet" on Sat 28 Nov 2020:

Last week the government set a target of 600,000 heat pump installations a year in the UK by 2028 as it launched its "green industrial revolution". It told housebuilders that in only three years' time they will be forbidden from installing gas boilers in new homes and will have to put in a heat pump instead.

This is an extraordinarily fast-paced change; last year of the 1.6m boilers installed in the UK, only about 25,000 were heat pumps and the rest were traditional gas units.

…Existing householders won't be forced to replace their old gas boilers – but if yours is reaching the end of its natural life, the experts say you should be seriously considering a heat pump while the very attractive government financial incentives remain in place.

More on the UK climate initiative from the BBC.

Thanks to Lisa Marshall of HeatSmart Tompkins for this tip.


Acton to Present on NY Heating Sector Transformation November 30 2020

Jerry Acton, a Complex Systems Architect with the GreyEdge Group, LLC, will be presenting at the next weekly NY-GEO Friday meeting, December 4, from 3-4 PM. He will address the transition in New York’s heating sector needed to comply with New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

Acton is the only person we know who has presented, in detail, the number of conversions from fossil fuel heating to heat pumps necessary to occur each year to meet the CLCPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. In addition, he has done so using the CLCPA's methane 20-year time frame and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Global Warming Potential (CO2 equivalent) of methane as 86.

Acton filed impressive testimony in the National Grid upstate rate case (Case Nos. 20-E-0380 & 20-G-0381) on Friday, Nov. 27. See the exhibits here.

Email nygeoinfo@gmail for an invitation to this Zoom event.

NatGrid Conversions Gas to HP Needed

 


Climate Action Council Meeting Summaries November 30 2020

Anastasia Gordon, from the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE)—of which is a NY-GEO member—has been compiling summaries of the meetings of the New York State Climate Action Council (CAC) and its several Advisory Panels. ACE has compiled an incredible resource, and the latest accounts can be found at the top of the page.

Check out the summaries and then go to the CAC website for more in-depth notes on meetings of particular interest.

Thank you Anastasia!


Imagine a NY Sunset Date for Fossil Fuel Heating November 30 2020

At the Wednesday, Nov. 19 meeting of the a Energy Efficiency and Housing Advisory Panel (EE&HAP) to the NYS Climate Action Council, the graphic below was presented as an illustrative example of how codes could be changed to help meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) goals for the heating sector.

This slide hasn't yet been fully discussed or adopted (or uploaded to the CAC website) by the EE&HAP and may need legislative approval for provisions that would be needed for adoption. But it is an important vision that many believe is crucial to meeting the CLCPA goals.

The timeline below would end fossil fuels in new single-family homes by 2025 and end new and replacement fossil fuel heating system sales by 2030.

Look for the presentation to go up on the Advisory Panels Meetings and Materials EE&HAP website soon.

Here is the proposal NY-GEO has developed of a glide path to sunset fossil fuels in the heating sector.

 


Heat Pump Home Tours! November 23 2020

HeatSmart Tompkins presents a new series of Virtual Home Tours with accompanying downloadable fact sheets. Systems covered include both forced air and hydronic ground source heat pump retrofits, ductless mini-splits and a dual-fuel forced air system.

  • Contemporary Ithaca home heated and cooled w/Mitsubishi ASHPs
  • Historic downtown Ithaca boarding house heated and cooled w/ Mitsubishi ASHP & HPWH
  • Ranch house heated and cooled w/Bryant dual fuel system
  • 1800s farmhouse and cottage heated and cooled w/ Fujitsu and LG ASHPs
  • Contemporary farmhouse w/WaterFurnace 7 series forced air GSHP (vertical boreholes)
  • "Carpenter Revival" house w/2-ton TTherm GSHP (vertical boreholes)
  • "Turn of the Century" home converted from gas boiler to Mitsubishi ASHPs
View these video home tours (each about 4 minutes long) here. PDF case studies are linked to each one.