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Down To Earth:
Practical Steps You Can Take to Reduce Carbon Emissions & Save Our Climate
Tina Lieberman, Vice Chair, Albany Sustainability Advisory Committee
Bill Reinhardt, Albany County Legislator, Co-Chair Solarize Albany
Founding Chairs, Capital District Community Energy, Inc.
One main takeaway from tonight: We are in a time crunch against climate change – as Bill McKibben says, this is a timed test. But there is something all of us can do to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s a buffet of options – pick one or two and tell others.
Don’t worry about taking notes, we’ll share a copy of the PowerPoint after the presentation and you’ll have all the info and links.
2022 Clean Energy Communities Challenge
A project of NYSERDA, Solarize Albany, the City of Albany
Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC), Albany County
Other communities are doing this too. Find them here:
A lot of the programs here are part of the Clean Energy Community Campaigns from NYSERDA.
We’ve also submitted a proposal to NYSERDA in partnership with several grassroots organizations to develop a Clean Energy Hub for the Capital Region. The goal of the Hub is to educate residents and small businesses about energy efficiency, clean heat and other ghg-reduction programs, with a focus on disadvantaged communities and the income eligible.
The World Climate Clock is ticking…
Our mission: We must #ActInTime to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and build a 100% renewable future.
Click on the link to see the real Climate Clock.
The Climate Clock was on a table in the room in Albany where you had to sign in to submit a public comment on the Draft Scoping Plan presented by the Climate Action Council on CLCPA.
At current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, we have less than 8 years left in our global “carbon budget” that gives two-thirds chance of staying under the critical threshold of 1.5°C of global warming.
The Clock’s Renewable Energy Lifeline tells us that the percent of global energy coming from renewable sources is currently at 12.5% and rising, but not nearly fast enough.
2019 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
To do this we need Data… Data… Data…
The 3 largest sectors for Albany’s GHG emissions: Building Heating, Transportation, Electricity
According to the Climate Action Council, greenhouse gas emissions from electricity are shrinking but greenhouse gas emissions from waste are increasing. Those are the trends.
TOTAL: 1,166,127 metric tons of ghgs; 12.1 tons per person:
• 41% from natural gas use – all use within the city limits
• 37% from transportation, mostly tailpipe emissions from cars.
• 12% from electricity use, dirty energy coming from the grid.
• 10% landfill + miscellaneous
NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 (CLCPA)
Sets statewide benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions reductions:
- Mandates a 40% reduction in ghg emissions from 1990 levels by 2030; 85% by 2050
- Requires 70% of the state’s electricity be from renewables by 2030; 100% zero emissions by 2040
- 35-40% of CLCPA funding is for disadvantaged communities
So what can you do to reduce your carbon and methane emissions?
- More than you think!
Start with solar for your electricity supply…
Get renewable energy and get 10% credit off your current electricity bill
-Save between $5-$15/month off
your electricity bill
-Will become opt-out (automatically enrolled) for the income eligible (HEAP recipients)
Special 2022 Deal from Solarize Albany for 8 County Capital Region:
- $200 sign on gift card
- 10% off your electricity bill
- Consolidated (one) bill from National Grid
- May take about 4 months to go “live” on your bill
- Choice of 2 companies: Nelnet and PowerMarket
- Sign up here: solarizealbany.org/community-solar
- Generate your own electricity.
- Feed excess back to grid to lower your bills.
- Battery storage options
- Probably won’t cover 100% of your load
- Federal tax credit: 26% for systems installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for systems installed in 2023. (Expires in 2024.)
- NYS tax credit-25% up to $5,000; 5 year carryover
- Get more info here: solarizealbany.org/rooftop-solar
Solarize Albany is a non-profit offering free advice & guidance on solar options. Sometimes it arranges special RFP and bulk purchase discounts.
Energy Efficiency – Why it’s Important
- As we electrify our home heating and transportation, we need to generate a lot more supply from renewables – that will make it very hard to reach our goals!
- If we also reduce our energy consumption, we can achieve our renewable energy goals.
- To get firm, dispatchable, reliable energy from renewables, we will also need to invest upfront in energy storage solutions… batteries and other options.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY & WEATHERIZATION
Detailed Information on Incentives and Financing is available on-line at the Heat Smart Capital Region site. Note other topics with detailed info as well, such as participating installers and workforce development/job training opportunities.
Energy efficiency programs from NYSERDA – Based on income Home Energy Audit: Free to All (lack of trained auditors locally) EMPOWER: -Pays 100% of costs up to $10,000 -Own or Rent. -Automatically eligible if receiving HEAP, SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, TANF or other Public Assistance -Heat Pumps up to $10k & Energy Star Appliances
- Contact Kathleen Langton, Capital Region Energy Advisor, Affordable Housing Partnership Website: ahphome.org/energy-efficiency Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Example: A One person household (HH) is eligible for Assisted Home Performance in Albany if HH Income is between $54,350 and $32,749. At $32,748 and below, that same HH is eligible for larger EmPower incentives.
Electrification – heating home & water
- 70% of energy produced globally is lost as waste heat – e360.yale.edu
- Heat pumps are up to 3x more efficient than fossil fuel systems. When a boiler consumes 1 kWh of gas, it provides about 0.95 kWh of heat, if its yield is at 95%.
- You will save $ if currently using electric, oil or propane for heat. Maybe gas.
- Air source and ground source heat pump technology has been around since 1948
- Popular in Europe and Asia
- Check out the fuel-switching calculator on Central Hudson’s website: energy-calculators/fuel-switching-calculator/ (shows fuel savings, cost to install, incentives)
Why Heat Pumps?
This efficiency benefit can also be defined as the “Coefficient of Performance” or COP. The COP is the ratio of energy delivered as heat (or cooling) versus energy consumed in the equipment. The Gas Boiler COP is 0.95, while the Heat Pump COP is 3.0. The COPs for boilers and furnaces are always <1.0.
Electrification – Air Source Heat Pumps
What you should know about Air Source Heat Pumps:
- Different rebates for different utility companies i.e. National Grid
- Must be NEEP-listed high efficiency, cold climate heat pumps
- Can supplement or replace fossil fuel heat
- Partially heating house (mini-split only) vs. full load (central or mini-split)
- Full Load Heating Rebate – $1,000 / 10,000 BTUH of maximum capacity at 5°F ($500 per unit to contractor)
- Partial Load Heating Rebate – $500 / outdoor unit ($100 per unit to contractor)
For NYS Clean Heat program, each unit in system must be on the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) ccASHP Product List .
Electrification – Ground Source Heat Pumps
The COP of GSHP can be as high as 4.0 to 5.0, significantly higher than ASHPs.
Electrification – Heat Pump Water Heaters
- 3x more efficient than standard electric and gas water heaters
- Converting electric to heat pumps could save $7.8 billion annually ($182 per household) while cutting residential energy consumption. (2016 study for US DOE)
- Water heating is the second-largest contributor to residential energy consumption in the US after space heating and 44% of Americans use electric water heaters. (2016 study for US DOE)
- HPWHs cool the space they are in
- Need more time to replace a tank of hot water
- Check out the Solar Assisted Heat Pump Water Heater! Solar tax rebate! Does not cool the room. (The Radiant Store)
Electrification – Appliances
- 25% more efficient than electric; 50% more efficient than gas
- Food being cooked with induction will receive 90% of the heat generated vs 40-55% for gas and 65-70% with electric
- No harmful fumes or particulate matter vs gas
- Gives more direct, immediate control over heat level vs electric
- Faster cooking
- No open flames or hot surface – magnetic system & electricity heats molecules in food
- Need pots that attract a magnet (ferrous metal)
- More expensive upfront
- Portable too – for apartments, trailers, Dorm rooms
Heat Pump Dryers
- 30-50% more energy efficient
- Save up to ½ the operating cost
- Conserves & reuses hot air
- Dries clothes at lower temp
- Protects clothes
- Takes longer to dry clothes (up to 50%)
- No outside vent needed
- Waste water goes down drain or stored in reservoir
Check for availability and cost premium in the Capital District.
Other ways to save energy
- Upgrade to LED light bulbs – uses 10x less energy than incandescent; uses 3x less than compact fluorescent (and no mercury)
- Smart thermostats (see National Grid Marketplace discounts)
- Wash clothes in cold water
- Turn off lights
- Lock windows in winter
- Air seal around windows and doors
- SUNY Albany Volunteer Weatherization Corps: Free service: sign up with Dr. Mary Ellen Mallia at email@example.com
- Drive less, plan your trips
Vampire loads add up to nearly $200 in extra energy costs per year in an average home.
This wasted energy could have powered 11 million homes!
How to choose the right power strip: Nat Research Energy Lab
Electric and Plug-In Hybrids are eligible for the federal tax credit up to $7500. Visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml
New York State Drive Clean EV Rebate: If EVs are bought from participating dealers, you are eligible for up to a $2,000 rebate. Visit https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Drive-Clean-Rebate/How-it-Works to learn about how this rebate works.
2022 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid
2022 Hyundai Ioniq5 – 300 mile Range EV
Federal tax credits vary by manufacturer.
- EVs are fast
- Save you money on gas (approx $15/charge)
- Save you money on maintenance
- No oil changes; fewer moving parts
- Range is up to 250 to 300 miles per charge
- Range anxiety
- Range is reduced by outdoor temperature & use of car heating/AC
- Need more charging stations
- EVs have a cost premium, but it is declining.
- Consumers need to prioritize life cycle cost, not just first cost
Find out more at SolarizeAlbany.org/electric-vehicles
Reducing Food Waste & Composting
-40% of food in America is wasted
-43% of food waste is generated in the home
-11% of ghg emissions come from food waste
-Reducing food waste is #3 out of 100 actions to reduce carbon in Drawdown
-Wasting food wastes:
- And puts more carbon & methane into the air
Drawdown is a good reference for global opportunities to reduce ghg emissions. Not every community has the same ranking of opportunities.
Reducing Food Waste & Composting
-Buy less food; use more of what you buy
-Donate what’s left
-Compost the rest
Reducing Food Waste & Composting
- Paid door to door compost pick up services
- Backyard composting
- Community Composting – Free Drop off
Find out about composting programs in:
Colonie Farmers Market
Another option: Backyard composting with friends and neighbors. I’ve got the land, you have the food waste. Let’s work together and save some money!
Reducing GHGs in Agriculture:
- Diet – Less meat and dairy, more vegetables
- Food Miles – Buy local/grow local
- Grow Your Own – Organically if possible
- Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good!
Globalization of Everything is Dead. Long Live Relocalization!
- Any questions?
SUNY Albany Volunteer Weatherization Corps: Free service: firstname.lastname@example.org
Capital Region Energy Manager, Kathleen Langton: 518-434-1730 x414; email@example.com
Capital District Community Energy: https://www.capitaldistrictcommunityenergy.com/
Albany Sustainability Advisory Committee webpage:
Zero Waste Capital District: ZeroWasteCD.org