HeatSmart Launches in Lansing

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Lansing residents will have two chances to learn about transitioning to ground- or air-source heating and cooling this month as HeatSmart Tompkins launches its local efforts with a day-long event Sunday afternoon in Myers Park and an evening community meeting 10 days later at the Lansing Community Library.

The Myers Park event, held Aug. 4 from 3 to 6 p.m., will be “more of a celebration,” according to Leigh Miller, HeatSmart’s summer Clean Energy intern.

“You will get to chat with HeatSmart coordinator and installers and learn about tax rebates and incentives for air and ground source heating systems and insulation,” Miller said. “There will also be live music and refreshments and door prizes, like ‘Paddle-N-More’ gift certificates. We’ll have hot dogs, chips and watermelon.”

The library event, on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m., will give interested parties a deeper dive into the topic.

“This will be more educational, with presentations on air- and ground-source heating, insulation, state tax rebates and federal tax incentives and time to talk with contractors,” Miller said.

The group also plans a series of open houses in Lansing homes already using air or ground source heating and cooling, according to Miller.

The 2018 Lansing High grad is interning with HeatSmart this summer and has planned both events. She is now a rising sophomore at Cornell University majoring in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences.

With gas and oil prices at relative lows, the question arises: why switch?

“Cost, comfort, and health,” Miller said.

Her boss for the summer, newly hired Lansing Outreach Coordinator Lisa Marshall, expanded.

“In terms of cost, there is a bigger investment up front and the savings occur over time,” Marshall said.

State and federal tax programs can help offset the initial burden, she said.

“The heat is more even, and more comfortable,” Marshall said. “And, right now, you are combusting fossil fuels in your basement.”
Miller noted that, in light of recent weather, a key added benefit is air conditioning.

“There is also the very real and very daunting prospect of climate change,” Marshall said. “We are trying to meet state energy goals and keep us under a two degree temperature rise.”

Marshall said there is a good reason behind the focus on Lansing.

“The state has provided extra funds towards Lansing as a result of the gas moratorium,” she said. “The utilities say that there is not enough gas to hook up new customers, so the state is working with their customers to build out renewable heating and cooling options.”

HeatSmart has a prominent ancestor – it was founded by the group Solar Tompkins as a result of its successful efforts to add more solar power to the local energy mix.

“Solar Tompkins was founded after the ‘fracking fight’ was over,” Marshall said. “We started pushing solutions, asking ourselves ‘what if it was easier to install solar?’ The idea was to give people information and hold their hands through the process. Once Solar Tompkins was successful, we thought ‘what else can we do to change home heating?’”

The success of the programs has spawned imitators in other New York state counties and regions, and even in Massachusetts, according to Marshall.

“It is important to emphasize that we understand that this is an ‘Albany program’ coming to town,” Marshall noted. “What we really want to do is to reach out to Lansing.”

Marshall said she and her staff do not want to present audiences with what they “should” do, but rather, provide information for them to make their own decisions.

“We want to be respectful and collaborative,” she said. “We’d like to be invited to churches and civic organizations to reach the community.”

Today’s day and age is perfect for the conversation HeatSmart is trying to start, Marshall said.

“The state is moving in a new direction away from fossil fuels,” Marshall said. “I truly believe that one small community can show how to transition from fossil fuels. We can set an example for others to get excited about, and feel good about. Our goals is to make sure that everyone in Lansing knows what’s available.”

You can learn more about the HeatSmart program and the events on their Facebook page, “Solar Tompkins and HeatSmart Tompkins,” and on their website www.heatsmarttompkins.org.

In brief:

Lighthouse 5k

The Lansing Lighthouse 5k and 1 Mile Run will be held Aug. 24 in Meyers Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. The course follows a flat, paved and gravel road around Myers Park and Salt Point.
This race is part of the “Triple Town Grand Prix” with other races being run in Groton (Sept. 2) and Dryden (Aug. 18).

The cost per person is $17 for the 5k (price increases after July 31) and free for the one mile fun run (registration ends Aug. 23). The event benefits the Lansing High Cross Country team.
For more information and to register, go to https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/Lansing/Lighthouse5Kand1MileRun.

Kevin Snyder Memorial Golf Tournament

The Kevin Snyder Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 14 beginning at the Fillmore Golf Course in Locke. The cost per person is $85 and includes greens fees, cart, lunch and dinner, a skins game and one raffle ticket. Proceeds go to the Kevin Snyder Lansing Bobcat Campership and Memorial Scholarship.

Sponsorships are available. For more information, contact John Longhouse at JLonghouse@gmail.com or Deron Snyder at: deron.snyder@yahoo.com.

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