Heating Options

Did you know that you can cut your bills by switching to a renewable heating source, and reduce your carbon emissions and contribute to a stronger local economy?

There are programs and incentives for several green & cozy heating options, but remember first to make sure you weatherize your home before deciding on a new heating system. This will help you reduce your heat load, and help you determine the appropriate equipment to keep your home warm all winter long.

Biomass: Wood & Wood Pellet

Wood. While burning firewood in a stove has been done for centuries, modern wood stoves have significantly reduced the amount of air pollution and can often heat a whole home--if it's been weatherized.

Wood pellets. Pellets are made from sawdust and low-quality trees, and, like wood, can be used to heat a whole house. There are many pellet mills in the Southern Tier region. NYSERDA is currently offering a $1,500-2,500 rebate on pellet stoves for residences that are not served by natural gas. NYSERDA also offers 45-65% off the installed cost of qualifying pellet boilers.

Heat pumps: Air-Source & Ground-Source

Heat pumps, like air conditioners or refrigerators, use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer.

Air-Source Heat Pumps take heat from the outside air (even when it is cold outside). NYSERDA currently offers a $500 incentive per outdoor unit to participating installers (who may pass it on to customers), or $1,000 per ton for whole home systems. All three installers listed below participate in the program.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps, also known as geothermal, remove heat from underground, and are more efficient than air source heat pumps. There are two significant incentives for geothermal heat pumps:

  1. NYSERDA currently offers a rebate of $1,500 per ton for geothermal technologies.

  2. Federal tax credit of 30%, which decreases over time, and is set to expire at the end of 2021.

Heat pumps can be carbon neutral if paired with solar panels, or if you purchase green energy through your energy supplier. Read more about heat pumps here.


We recommend getting a few quotes from local heating contractors. Or contact one of our Community Energy Advisers. We are not salespeople and we are here to help!

Also, you may be interested in attending a HeatSmart Southern Tier session. HeatSmart is a non-profit initiative that provides third-party information on heat pumps and energy efficiency, a list of vetted contractors, and upfront pricing in Broome, Tioga, Chenango & Delaware Counties. There is a separate HeatSmart program for Tompkins County.