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Bolton and Harvard Lead the Way in Two State Clean Energy Adoption Programs

Jane Wenzel (Bill Wenzel) and Steve Taylor (Boucher Energy) speak with customers at the HeatSmart Bolton Harvard kickoff event

Thanks for making our campaign a success! Read on to learn more about what we accomplished together.

A summary version of this article will be printed in the Bolton Independent.

The towns of Bolton and Harvard have become leaders in increasing clean energy adoption for their residents. Energy-efficiency-conscious volunteers, residents and municipal representatives in each of the two small Central Mass communities have seen success through participating in two programs offered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and Department of Energy Resources (DOER), known as the Solarize Mass and HeatSmart Mass programs.

Both programs have similar common goals:

  • Increase adoption of small-scale clean energy technologies in participating communities through outreach efforts paired with a group purchase model that uses homeowner buying power to lower prices for participants
  • Help participants save money on fuel via energy-efficient systems
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Educate participants

Since Solarize Mass launched in 2011, the program has resulted in more than 18,000 individuals expressing interest in pursuing solar electricity. To date, over 3,400 residents and business owners in 69 communities signed contracts resulting in over 22.95 megawatts of contracted capacity.

A history of community clean energy leadership

Prior to participating in the 2018 HeatSmart Mass program, both Harvard and Bolton separately participated in Solarize Mass, with great results:

The HeatSmart Massachusetts program was piloted by MassCEC and DOER at the end of 2017, with similar objectives and methods to Solarize Mass, but with a focus on increasing adoption of small-scale clean heating and cooling technologies instead of solar PV.

Taking the next step

HeatSmart Bolton Harvard (2018) – Joint applications on behalf of multiple towns were encouraged by MassCEC and DOER, so volunteers from Bolton and Harvard teamed up to submit a strong proposal that was accepted on November 15, 2017. Of the four clean heating and cooling technologies supported under the program, Bolton and Harvard chose to focus their efforts on increasing adoption of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) and Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP). Both accomplish space heating and cooling without combustion by efficiently transferring heat from/to the outside air (ASHP) or ground (GSHP).

ASHP, including mini-splits and central ducted versions, tend to be less expensive and straightforward to install. GSHP systems are inherently more efficient, but also more disruptive and costly to install. However, current State and Federal incentives offset well over half of GSHP cost. Separate installers for each technology were selected from 8 competitive bids in February 2018. “Meet the Installer” events were held in each town, followed by a series of communications including general and targeted mailings, signs, banners, ads, internet postings, events, consultations with coaches, a contract Q & A meeting, etc.

HeatSmart Bolton Harvard results are summarized in the chart below:

Results as of end of October 2018.

HeatSmart Bolton Harvard resulted in 47 residents signing contracts for air and ground source heat pumps with the Bolton Harvard selected installers during the duration of the program (March to August 2018). However, with over 200 residents reached through the program, many nonetheless opted to sign contracts with the Bolton Harvard installers after the official program end date (8 more since end of August)***.

Additionally, at least 10 residents moved forward with a heat pump installation but with another installer. These homeowners may have felt more comfortable with their current local oil delivery or HVAC company offering mini-splits. HeatSmart volunteers and installers worked with any and all homeowners interested in heat pumps—regardless of whether they selected HeatSmart installers—to help meet the fuel-saving, educational, and environmental goals of HeatSmart. In addition, we evaluated existing geothermal systems and offered advice.

In total, HeatSmart Bolton Harvard influenced at least 65 residents to switch from fossil fuel heating to clean heating and cooling. Results were particularly rewarding for GSHP, and residents were able to take advantage of currently very-favorable incentives and pricing. Prior to HeatSmart, there were six known geothermal systems in our towns (three in Bolton and three in Harvard). Our HeatSmart efforts influenced 18 more installations, quadrupling the number of geothermally-heated homes to 24!

Left: Bolton Coach Tony Jagodnik's new geothermal heat pump. Tony's WaterFurnace 7 Series Geothermal Heat Pump connects to existing ductwork, with basement floor footprint area about the same as the original Forced Hot Air/ Central A/C system. The black insulated lines rising vertically at left through two circulating pumps connect to two ground loop bores in parallel outside, where nothing will be visible once landscaping has been restored. Photos from Tony's installation process may be seen here.

Bolton and Harvard have blazed a path for communities across the Commonwealth with their successful participation in both the Solarize Mass and HeatSmart Mass programs. Communities interested in increasing solar PV and clean heating and cooling technologies should also consider applying.

Visit MassCEC’s webpage for more information, or sign up for email updates on all focused on municipalities.

We wish to thank Mass CEC/DOER, supporting organizations, the Town Governments of Bolton and Harvard, local TV, the installers, all of the volunteers, and all of the participants, for their contributions to Solarize Mass and HeatSmart.

Tony Jagodnik, Bolton HeatSmart Coach
Eric Broadbent, Harvard HeatSmart Coach

***Still have a HeatSmart quote and want to move forward? Reach back out to your installer! Through at least the end of 2018, our installers will continue to offer HeatSmart pricing, adjusted for any recent manufacturer’s increases in equipment prices, to those who already are in the pipeline and considering a HeatSmart quote.

Posted by the HeatSmart Bolton Harvard team on November 16, 2018