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New Yorkers Rally for Renewable Heat on December 6 in Albany

Campaign calls for swift transition off oil and gas and for state to ramp up investment in heat pumps to reach climate goals

WHO:             Speakers include Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy (D-Albany), geothermal expert Jay Egg, geothermal installer John Ciovacco to discuss jobs, Irene Weiser of Fossil Free Tompkins on anticipated fuel rate hikes.  Organized by the Renewable Heat Now campaign, including Alliance for a Green Economy, New Yorkers for Clean Power, NY-GEO, HeatSmart Tompkins, Sane Energy Project, and Frack Action.

WHAT:           Rally with speakers and colorful signs. To be followed by Heat Pumps 101 teach-in by Bill Nowak, and drop-in visits with legislators’ offices.

WHERE:              ALBANY – “Million Dollar Staircase,” NYS Capitol Building

WHEN:           12 Noon, Wednesday,  December 6, 2017

WHY:             In order to meet NY’s climate commitments and prevent polluting fracked gas pipelines across NY, we need stronger policies and incentives to promote conversion of 126,000 homes per year to comfortable, efficient electric heat pumps.

Albany, NY— As the snow begins to fall and the heat kicks on, New Yorkers are faced once again with the annual expense, fumes, and climate emissions of burning fossil fuels to stay warm through the winter.  However, more and more New Yorkers are realizing that there are clean, efficient alternatives, such as air-source and ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps.  On Wednesday December 6, New Yorkers will rally in the New York State Capitol at 12 PM, calling on Governor Cuomo and New York State to aggressively ramp up support for renewable heating technologies, in order to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

“Governor Cuomo set us on the right path to a fossil free future by banning fracking in New York,” observes Andra Leimanis of Alliance for a Green Economy, “but we need to do more.  New York needs to strongly prioritize conversion to heat pumps and stop allowing fracked gas pipelines to proliferate. We can warm our homes without warming the planet.”

“Moving New York towards a renewable future requires innovative developments in clean energy,” said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy (D-Albany), who will be speaking at the rally. “Technology like geothermal heat pumps helps New Yorkers heat their home without emitting greenhouse gases. I’m proud to be a voice in New York supporting geothermal energy as an important component in meeting our ambitious emission reduction goals.”

Over 38% of NY’s greenhouse gas emissions come from combustion of fossil fuels in our buildings, mostly for heating.  Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy estimate that in order to achieve NY’s goal of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, 126,000 buildings per year must convert from fossil fuels — including natural gas and oil — to efficient electric heat pump systems.

The Renewable Heat Now campaign launched in 2017 to help educate New Yorkers and advocate for incentives and policies to promote this transition. The campaign’s educational talks by experts Dr. Arjun Makhijani and Jay Egg have drawn crowds all over the state, from curious homeowners and architects to energy activists.  The campaign’s platform calls for updated building codes to eliminate fossil fuel heating in new construction, rebates and incentives to promote installation of heat pumps, and assistance especially for low-income homeowners to afford the initial investment in equipment.

“The state-level rebates established by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority this year are a good start, but more needs to be done to make heat pump technology accessible to everyone,” Elizabeth Broad of New Yorkers for Clean Power observed.

Efficient electric heat pumps are commonly known and used in other states for heating and cooling needs.  New Yorkers who move south are often astonished to find how cheaply, safely, and comfortably they can regulate the temperature in their homes with heat pumps. Geothermal systems are the most efficient way to heat and cool buildings in New York and are a complete alternative to burning fossil fuels.  Cold climate air source heat pumps are also a good alternative for many buildings.  Lack of knowledge of these alternatives, however, results in over 90% of NY homes still relying on combustion heat from gas, oil, and propane.

“Home and building owners -especially those using expensive oil and propane- can really benefit,” said Bill Nowak of NY-GEO. “If you think heat pumps wouldn’t work for your building, I urge you to take another look.  Even HVAC professionals are amazed by what is possible now.  For example, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in downtown Manhattan is now heated by geothermal heat pumps.”

A bus to the rally will be available with pickup points near Penn Station in New York City, the Croton-Harmon train station, and New Paltz Park and Ride.  The campaign is arranging carpools from across the state. Visit www.RenewableHeatNow.org for more information.

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