Frequently Asked Questions
- What is HeatSmart Great Barrington and who is organizing it?
- How does HeatSmart Great Barrington work?
- How does HeatSmart Great Barrington offer a discounted price?
- How was the HeatSmart Great Barrington installer selected?
- Why should I participate now?
- Is participation in this program limited to Great Barrington residents?
- What is clean heating and cooling?
- What is an air source heat pump and how does it work?
- What are the benefits of using an air source heat pump?
- Don’t air-source heat pumps perform poorly in cold climates?
- Are there other drawbacks to air source heat pumps?
- Is an air source heat pump right for me?
- Why are air source heat pumps considered “clean heating and cooling” technologies?
- How efficient are air source heat pumps?
- How do the annual maintenance costs of an air source heat pump compare to other heating systems?
- How long do air source heat pumps last?
- How noisy are air source heat pumps?
- Can air source heat pumps provide hot water?
- How complicated is installing a heat pump and how much time will it take?
- How can I maximize energy savings from my heat pump?
- How well do air source heat pumps work in the middle of winter?
- What rebates and incentives are available to me?
- What financing options are available to me?
- How much could I potentially save by installing clean heating and cooling?
- How much can I expect to pay for a clean heating and cooling system?
|What is HeatSmart Great Barrington and who is organizing it?||
HeatSmart Great Barrington is a community-based education and group purchasing program for clean heating and cooling technologies. HeatSmart Great Barrington seeks to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by adopting cold climate air-source heat pumps at a discount from the regional average.
From March through July of 2018, residents and businesses in Great Barrington will have the opportunity to purchase these selected technologies at a special, limited-time discount from competitively-selected installers. Throughout the duration of this program, HeatSmart Great Barrington will offer educational “meet the installer” and open house events to give you the chance to learn more about heat pumps and how they might help meet your home comfort and energy needs.
HeatSmart Great Barrington is the latest community-driven, town-sponsored, clean energy initiative. HeatSmart Great Barrington is led by a team of volunteer residents with support from town representatives. HeatSmart Great Barrington is a pilot program offered through the HeatSmart Mass, a statewide program supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. The HeatSmart Bolton/Harvard team also receives technical support from the Cadmus Group, an international consulting firm with decades of experience supporting the development of clean energy projects in Massachusetts.
|How does HeatSmart Great Barrington work?||
Does the concept of HeatSmart Great Barrington sound familiar?
HeatSmart Great Barrington is modeled after the successful Solarize Great Barrington program of 2013. The HeatSmart Great Barrington team, with support from MassCEC and other technical advisors, is adapting the Solarize model to fit clean heating and cooling technologies.
HeatSmart Great Barrington aims to bring you the same straightforward, hassle-free approach that made Solarize so popular in our town. HeatSmart Great Barrington offers an easy way to learn about and purchase heat pumps from some of the most qualified installers the state. All you have to do is sign up for HeatSmart Great Barrington and one or more of our competitively-selected installers will take it from there.
|How does HeatSmart Great Barrington offer a discounted price?||
One of the goals of HeatSmart Great Barrington is to offer transparent, discounted pricing to residents and businesses. Due to the high potential volume of leads concentrated in a small geographic area, HeatSmart Great Barrington’s selected installers are able to get best, bulk pricing from their manufacturers and distributors and be more efficient with scheduling and coordinating personnel. HeatSmart Great Barrington’s volunteers will also lead outreach efforts and help drive leads to these installers.
In exchange, HeatSmart Great Barrington has worked with these installers to ensure that they are passing their savings down to HeatSmart customers. Installers evaluated for this program were asked to bid in with their best pricing, and these bids were benchmarked against regional and statewide average pricing information provided by MassCEC.
|How were the HeatSmart Great Barrington installers selected?||
Installer selection is currently under way! Interested installers were invited to submit bids through a competitive, public request for proposals to participate in HeatSmart Great Barrington (and the three other HeatSmart pilot communities) in November. The HeatSmart Great Barrington is currently in the process of evaluating proposals, with support from MassCEC and the Cadmus Group. Check back soon for more information!
|Why should I participate now?||
HeatSmart Great Barrington and the discounted pricing offered is a limited time offer only. Only customers who sign contracts by July 31, 2018 will receive this discount.
|Is participation in this program limited to Great Barrington residents and businesses?|
|What is clean heating and cooling?||
In cold climates like Massachusetts, heating and cooling accounts for over 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In order to meet our state's climate goals, homes and business across the state will have to reduce their energy consumption and convert from fossil fuel-based heating/cooling, electricity, and transportation to clean, renewable energy sources and technologies. In 2014, the Commonwealth released a statewide strategy for increasing the adoption of clean heating & cooling (also known as “renewable thermal”) technologies.
Clean heating and cooling (CH&C) describes high-efficiency heating and cooling technologies that can use thermal energy (or be powered by energy) derived from renewable sources--including the sun, air, earth, and sustainably harvested bioenergy. Because of their importance to meeting our state’s climate goals, state and local governments and utilities across the state are offering thousands of dollars in incentives to support the adoption of these technologies and energy sources.
HeatSmart Great Barrington is offering cold climate air source heat pumps, which use heat naturally occurring in ambient air to provide heat to your home via equipment that can be powered by renewably-generated electricity.
There are other CH&C technologies (e.g. ground source heat pumps, solar hot water, modern wood heating, biodiesel) available. Learn more about them here.
|What rebates and incentives are available to me?||
There are a variety of incentives available for clean heating and cooling offered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Dept. of Energy Resources, and Mass Save. Consult the HeatSmart Great Barrington rebates and financing guide (coming soon!) for a description of these rebates and special requirements.
These incentive programs include the following:
Concerned about making sure you get all of the available rebates? Our installers are up to speed on all of the latest state and local programs and will help you complete the necessary paperwork. We are also in the process of developing a detailed, step-by-step guide for the incentives you will need to file yourself.
|What financing options are available to me?||The Mass Save HEAT Loan is available to residents of Great Barrington. The HEAT Loan offers a 0% interest, 7-year loan of up to $25,000 and is available for both CH&C technologies. That equates to monthly payments of about $120 for a $10,000 system!|
|How much could I potentially save by installing clean heating and cooling?||
Everyone’s heating (and cooling) bill is different—so the amount you could save on energy will vary depending on a number of factors, including what fuel you currently use to heat your home, how well insulated it is, what size and shape your home is, what temperature you keep your thermostat at, how many heat pump units you install, and more.
Typically, the most important factor is what fuel you currently use to heat your home and how old and inefficient your heating system is. If you heat with electric resistance, or propane, you’ll probably see the most energy savings—anywhere from $500 a year to over a $1,500, depending on how much you currently pay and how much of your heating bill you offset.
One way to compare heat pumps to fossil fuel-based equipment is to look at how much it costs to provide a unit of heat. It is hard to predict fossil fuel prices from year to year, but the chart below provides a comparison based on an average of fuel prices from the last five years. Take a look at the chart below for a comparison:
|How much can I expect to pay for a clean heating and cooling system?||More info to come once our installer selection is complete, though ductless units generally start at around $3,500-4,000 per zone before rebates.|