In February 2022, the Taghkanic Climate Smart Community (CSC) Task Force, a group of volunteer Taghkanic residents seeking information on ways for our Town to help reduce its climate impact, held a town-wide public information presentation on heat pump technology. In New York State, which aims to generate 70% of its electrical energy from renewable sources by 2030, heat pumps offer a means to both eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from oil-based heating systems and to use renewable electrical resources more efficiently. As we learned at the presentation, which was attended by over 40 town residents, the newest generation of heat pump technology has impressive heating capacity at winter temperatures down to 0°F, as well as cooling efficiency in hot summer months that surpasses conventional central or window-unit air conditioners.
With the increased awareness of the benefits of heat pumps, the Town Board voted in June to install heat pumps in the Taghkanic Town Hall, which at the time was served by oil-based heating and window air conditioning units. The work involved the installation of a total of 4 Mitsubishi systems, which were mounted through the exterior walls. After application of a rebate program issued through National Grid in the amount of $7,896, the total cost for the project was $21,311.
As many of you are aware, earlier this year the Taghkanic CSC Task Force completed a successful Community Solar campaign, resulting in 44 town residents signing up for community solar through our partner, Ampion Renewable Energy. As a result of that initiative, the Town was invited by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to apply for a $5000 Action Grant as well as a second $5000 Designation Grant. Shortly after submitting the applications, the Town was awarded both grants and received the sum of $10,000. This money was applied to the cost of the heat pump system, which reduced the overall cost to the Town to $11,311.
We have calculated that the conversion to heat pumps in Town Hall will reduce its direct annual contribution of greenhouse gases by the equivalent of 1000 to 1200 gallons of heating oil, which will be replaced by electricity from a grid that is increasingly reliant on renewable resources. At the current costs for heating oil (around $5 to $6 per gallon) and electricity ($0.22 per KW plus service charges), we estimate an annual savings of around $2484 in heating and cooling. This translates to a roughly 4.5-year break-even period on the investment.
Each of the four units can be adjusted remotely, so if someone forgets to turn off a unit after leaving, they can turn off the unit from home. This also means the units can be turned on and the building can be warmed up or cooled down in the hours before people are scheduled to arrive. And if you‘ve ever had trouble hearing Court proceedings because of those noisy window AC units, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Beyond the numbers, the installation at the Town Hall also provides an example for town residents to experience first-hand the heating and cooling effects of heat pumps. The next time you visit the Town Hall, (hopefully not to appear in Court!) you’re welcome to check out the installation inside and out and, of course, see what kind of job you think they’re doing in heating and cooling the building. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to switch to heat pumps too!