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New guide offers tips on clean heating and cooling

MONTPELIER — Vermonters interested in heating their homes without fossil fuels have a new resource to help them navigate the path towards clean heating. The guide, titled “A Vermonter’s Guide to Residential Clean Heating and Cooling,” was produced by the nonprofit Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) for the Vermont Public Service Department and is available to download for free on CESA’s website — tinyurl.com/VtCleanEnergyGuide.
“Vermont has seen tremendous growth in interest in switching to clean heating sources and more efficient air conditioning” noted Public Service Department Commissioner June Tierney. “As thousands more Vermonters explore the possibility of switching to advanced wood heating and cold climate heat pumps, the Vermont Public Service Department is committed to providing quality information to help them navigate the process. It is our hope that affiliated agencies and organizations will help spread the word about this helpful new guide.”
About 20% of Vermonter’s heating needs are met local cord wood or wood pellets and over 25,000 cold climate heat pumps have been installed in Vermont. However, nearly 80% of Vermonters still heat their homes by burning fossil fuels, which contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, are a drain on the local economy, and can worsen air quality. To align their interests in renewable, clean, and local energy with their home energy needs many Vermont homeowners are looking to transition to clean heating technologies. This guide provides information and guidance on how to make that transition.
Supporting the transition to cleaner heating and renewable energy is in-line with Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, which calls for Vermont to increase the portion of renewable energy used to heat Vermont’s building sector to 30% by 2025. This goal builds on the state statutory goal to weatherize 80,000 homes and reduce fuel use and utility bills by 25 percent.
This extensive 60-page guide provides in-depth coverage of clean heating and cooling technologies. It is broken into 10 sections:
1) Efficiency First: This section explains the role of energy efficiency and conservation in reducing the amount of heat and electric energy used by a household. It also explains the benefits of an energy audit.
2) Why Should I Install a CH&C (Clean Heating and Cooling) System in my Home? This section examines CH&C benefits and the role they play in Vermont’s clean energy goals.
3) What are CH&C Technologies? This section provides a detailed explanation of each technology. Advanced wood heating options include wood pellet boilers, furnaces, and stoves. Sections on cold climate air source heat pumps, air-to-water heat pumps, and ground source heat pumps address heating and cooling with electricity.
4) Are CH&C Systems Right for my Home? This section examines why a homeowner should consider CH&C. These options include the need for addition space heat, for hot water, or to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
5) Assessing Your Home’s Current Distribution System for Heating: This section helps the homeowner assess the method there home uses to distribute heat, such as ducted forced hot air systems, hydronic systems, or space heating units and how to choose a CH&C technology that works with that distribution system.
6) Assessing Your Home’s Current Home Heating and Hot Water Systems: This section discusses how hot water CH&C technology can supply hot water in addition to space heating and cooling or can provide hot water only.
7) Cooling Your Home: This section describes how cooling can be provided with air source and ground source heat pumps.
8) Integrated Smart Thermostats and Controls: This section highlights technology available to remotely control heating and cooling equipment and to optimize temperature settings which can maximize efficiency.
9) Selecting a Contractor/Installer and System Maintenance: This section takes a close look at the importance of a qualified contractor’s evaluation of a home’s heating needs, distribution system, and compatible CH&C technologies. It also includes guidelines for CH&C equipment maintenance.
10) Incentives and Financing: This section contains a comprehensive listing of rebates, loans, and incentives available from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, Efficiency Vermont, the federal government, and utilities. Financing through home energy loans is also covered.
The guide, which complements the Public Service Department’s online information clearinghouse at energysaver.vermont.gov is available to view or download as a pdf at bit.ly/35NaoEf.

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