to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

309 North Aurora Street | Ithaca, NY 14850 | info@tccpi.org

HeatSmart Addresses Lansing Gas Moratorium

In response to the recent NYSEG-imposed a moratorium on new natural gas in the Town and Village of Lansing, HeatSmart Tompkins has launched a groundbreaking program encouraging residents and businesses in the community to switch to heat pumps.  At the same time New York State has put in place special incentives for Lansing residents who choose to convert to heat pumps this year. The Tompkins County HeatSmart initiative is serving as a model to expand the grass roots approach to promoting clean energy all over New York State.

"We saw the example that HeatSmart Tompkins initiated a few years ago," said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Clean Heating and Cooling Group Program Manager Scott Smith. "It was my idea to replicate it around New York State. As of a week ago we have 15 communities in New York, including Tompkins County, that are doing HeatSmart campaigns."

"We're the first in the country," HeatSmart Tompkins Program Director Jonathan Comstock said. "Nobody did what we did. We broke new ground.  We did solar for two years.  The first one was in Caroline and Dryden. It didn't make it to the rest of the county.  It went so well that we decided the rest of the County said it wants in on this too. So we had a full county program the next year."

On the heels of that very successful program HeatSmart was born four years ago. The program caught NYSERDA's attention, and this year NYSERDA has provided additional funding not only for incentives for homeowners to convert to heat pumps, but also for HeatSmart to hire Lisa Marshall as the Lansing coordinator and advertising money to help get the word out about the incentives.

"It's part of an ongoing conversation in the state and the utilities about how we're transitioning our energy future," said Marshall. "The utilities are giving a little push-back, wanting to put in more gas infrastructure, and the state is saying 'we're not really into that, and what if we try this instead? And what if we threw some incentives and some extra money at it, especially in the gas moratorium areas here in Lansing and in southern Westchester County? It's sort of a negotiation, and HeatSmart is the grease to smooth the field."

Smith says the HeatSmart model is about both making people who have access to natural gas aware of the opportunities heat pumps present, plus actually getting people to convert to the new greener technology.

"The HeatSmart campaigns are a really important effort in changing that, in increasing awareness," he said. “For people who don't know, everybody can use a heat pump. Heat pumps can be installed in any building anywhere in the state."

 Solar Tompkins Board Chairman Brian Eden points out that the program is not only for homes. Program administrators held a forum last month to present special options available for renewable heating and cooling that are specific to Lansing in response to the moratorium.


As existing gas customers, both residential and commercial, move to alternative technologies, their portion of the overall capacity of natural gas already being delivered to Lansing will be freed up for new businesses that require natural gas for specific processes they must use. According to Eden, HeatSmart is subcontracted for the commercial and industrial portion of the Lansing program through Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD). 


Besides the HeatSmart campaign, the Tompkins County Business Energy Advisors (BEA) program launched a new initiative earlier this month for Lansing businesses. The BEA program now provides outreach and technical assistance for existing commercial and industrial facilities greater than 10,000 square feet in the natural gas moratorium area. See here for more information.

 - Dan Veaner, Lansing Star, 8/9/19 and 9/6/19

News and Events

A Moment of Truth–The Climate Reality Project

You’ve seen the headlines. You know the climate crisis is devastating the Earth. You want to know what we can do. What you can do.

You’re not alone – and The Climate Reality Project thinks it’s time for answers.

So on November 20–21, we’re presenting 24 Hours of Reality: Truth in Action, a global conversation on the truth of the climate crisis and how we solve it.

Tom Hirasuna, from The Climate Reality Leadership Corps, will present “A Moment of Truth” as a part of the “24 Hours of Reality: Truth in Action” lectures which are taking place worldwide.

Recent weather events clearly demonstrate that we must change our behavior and attitudes. New developments in technology give hope that we can change. The key question to consider now is, “Will we change?” Some of Climate Reality’s recent efforts in New York State and how to get involved now will be highlighted.

Join the conversation.

When: Thursday, November 21, 7-8 pm

Where: CCE-Tompkins Education Center, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca

Fee: No Charge

Next TCCPI Meeting

Friday, December 13, 2019
9:00 - 11:00 am
Tompkins County Public Library
BorgWarner Conference Room
101 E. Green St.
Ithaca, NY 14850

If you have any issues you would like to bring to the TCCPI monthly meetings, please e-mail us at info@tccpi.org. General meetings are on the last Friday of every month, except for November and December. Because of the holidays, the November-December meeting is on the second Friday of December.


Be sure to visit the website for TCCPI's latest project, the Ithaca 2030 District, an interdisciplinary public-private collaboration working to create a groundbreaking high-performance building district in Downtown Ithaca.