Gail Neely has lived in Tompkins County most of her adult life, since she moved to Ithaca from North Carolina in 1989. She left the area briefly, but her love for Tompkins pulled her back. “I believe that home is where the heart resides -- where it endures and where it flourishes”, Gail said. “And for me that is right here in Tompkins County”. So a few years ago she settled down in her current home in Newfield. Although she was interested in going solar to contribute her own “little bit toward the collective goal of moving the world away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy”, she initially thought solar would be beyond her budget. But when she learned about the Go Solar Tompkins program through Get Your GreenBack’s newsletter she decided to give it a try. Gail is now powering her home with panels installed in August by local contractor Renovus Energy, and paying less a month on her loan than she was on her electrical bill.Read More
If you’re looking to save money on your monthly energy bill, you may want to considering going solar. The combination of significant federal and state incentives and dropping equipment costs (see chart below) make the price of solar energy remarkably low. In fact, in a typical scenario, if financed, your monthly loan payment on your solar panels can be less than or equal to your current monthly electricity bill.Read More
As the July heat settles in, heat pumps are increasingly recognized as an efficient-- and, according to a new study conducted in Tompkins County, affordable-- way to heat and cool your homes. Despite the counterintuitive name, heat pumps can both warm up a space and cool it down.Read More
With two winters behind him, Tom Butler has no reservations about having installed air-source heat pumps to heat his home and a rental property he owns. Tom lives with his wife and their daughter in Groton in a two-story home overlooking a large pond, woods and varied gardens on 5 acres, where several cats, including a manx, freely roam, occasionally stopping by for a pet. Several years ago they installed solar panels to provide electricity for their household and the small rental cottage on their property. Tom thought the annual surplus 2,000 kWh from the panels could power a heat pump system and help him move away from fossil fuels.Read More
Susan Schattschneider had been searching for a CSA to join for a while, as she said she “wanted a convenient way to fill my diet with more veggies”. CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is an arrangement where consumers purchase a share of the farm’s produce, generally receiving a weekly portion of the harvest from June through October. Susan and her husband live in the Town of Lansing, a strong farming town; however, she hadn’t found a convenient way to join a CSA locally. Then the perfect opportunity fell into her lap: she learned about a CSA drop-off at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, where she works. She signed up two years ago and hasn’t looked back since.Read More
Erin Eldermire first got hooked on Community Supported Agriculture, also know as CSA, when she signed up for a share at Cornell University’s Vet School, where she works. The weekly share of local produce is delivered right to her workplace, one of many CSA drop off locations in Tompkins County, and has changed the way she and her family eat, as well as their connection to food and local farms.Read More
Gibrian Hagood had never gardened before he received seeds and a 5-gallon bucket of soil from Tompkins Community Action two years ago. During the summer, his bucket garden filled up with more fresh produce than Gibrian thought possible. Last year Gibrian rented a plot in a community garden and grew even more. Now Gibrian is volunteering to teach others through Seed to Supper, a free series of classes for budding gardeners.Read More
Ever wanted a free introduction to growing your own fruits and vegetables? This summer, join community members around Tompkins County for Seed to Supper, a series of classes on the basics of gardening that can help you on the road to becoming a master gardener and having more fresh produce to eat.
The class series is based off a curriculum started in Oregon and adapted for New York State that covers topics like garden planning, soil preparation, compost, seed starting, transplanting, planting in the garden, maintenance, dealing with weeds and pests, and harvesting.Read More
Don Barber and Rita Rosenberg knew that they needed to make a change to their heating system when a technician told them that their aging oil-fired boiler would likely need emergency maintenance soon. Don and Rita, firm believers in renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades, were also looking to get off fossil fuels for their home heating needs. After attending a presentation on the benefits of pellet heat and energy efficiency sponsored by Get Your GreenBack and CCE-Tompkins, Don and Rita decided to install a wood pellet boiler that keeps their home more comfortable, requires little maintenance, and reduces the risk of their heating costs increasing dramatically when fossil fuel prices rise.
Through NYSERDA’s Renewable Heat NY program, they received a 45% discount on the pellet boiler and installation costs, making Don and Rita’s switch to a more comfortable, reliable, and carbon-neutral fuel economically feasible.Read More
Ehrhart Energy of Trumansburg is one of the local businesses serving customers looking to invest in renewable energy solutions like wood pellet stoves or wood pellet boilers. With the help of NYSERDA incentives through the Renewable Heat New York program, local residents have saved thousands of dollars on wood pellet heating systems purchased at Ehrhart and other local heating contractors.Read More
Inspired by attending house auctions with her mother and reading about Pippy Longstockings, a “thing-finder,” Barb Bassette was introduced to the world of secondhand shopping at an early age.Read More
"Illuminating", "Instructive", "Helpful", & "Fun"
These are some of the words participants have used to describe the volunteer Energy Navigator program, whose second round of training begins in March 2017. Volunteer Energy Navigators learn to reduce their own energy use and save money, and help other community members do the same.Read More
Ronald Booker’s interest in energy efficiency and renewables is clear from his Ithaca home’s solar panels, passive solar room, and wood stove that satisfies nearly all of his home’s heating needs. After taking these personal steps to reduce his energy use, “Booker”, as he is known to his friends, realized that there was an opportunity to share his expertise by helping others navigate the sometimes complicated process of evaluating energy choices. Through Get Your Greenback Tompkins’ Energy Navigator program, Booker gained strategies and tools to help convey his passion and knowledge regarding energy conservation to others looking to take similar energy and money-saving steps.Read More
Although Kris Townsend grew up eating relatively healthily, she bemoans the lack of vegetables in her early diet. Now with her purchase of a CSA share, Kris regularly receives an assortment of fresh, local produce for less than she would pay in a grocery store. Kris says she wishes she’d been brought up eating the amount of vegetables she now receives in her CSA. “I just wish I had known more about the importance of greens in your diet,” she says.Read More
Even though the ground will soon be frozen solid in Tompkins County, area farmers are still offering a way to enjoy local produce, lower prices and show your support for local farmers through Winter CSA shares.Read More
Energy costs during the winter season can be a large burden for many households in Tompkins County. Though the area experienced an unusually warm winter last year, a recent report by the federal government indicates that individuals heating with natural gas or oil could experience heating cost increases of up to 20 percent this winter. Residential energy use accounts for around one fifth of our County's total energy use, indicating that any reduction in this area can have meaningful impacts on our area's carbon emissions. Recognizing this, there are ways to free your home and wallet from fossil fuel price volatility, dramatically reduce your energy use, and cut your carbon emissions, all while benefiting our local economy.
The first step towards a more energy-efficient household is a home energy assessment performed by a qualified local energy contractor.Read More
A few years ago, when Gretchen Rymarchyk made the switch from renting to owning her own home in Danby, she was shocked by the high costs of heating: $600 to $900 a month for her propane deliveries. This was nearly equal to what she used to pay for rent, and wasn’t sustainable since she now had her new mortgage every month.Read More