Community Campaigns for Renewable Heating and Cooling Technologies: Four Case Studies

June 26, 2019

by Georgena Terry and Val Stori

For cities and states committed to reducing energy use, renewable heating and cooling technologies (RH&C) represent a cost-effective and high-impact option. This report, Community Campaigns for Renewable Heating and Cooling Technologies: Four Case Studies, profiles four community-based RH&C programs, highlighting best practices and lessons learned.  

The report describes the reasons for, and development of, community-based RH&C campaigns by featuring case studies of four of the earliest community-led efforts. Although the overarching strategy remains the same, each campaign is unique, tailored to meet the needs of its community. The four communities—Boulder (CO), Northampton, (MA), Peaks Island (ME), and Tompkins County (NY)—demonstrate the diversity of approaches to organizing, running, and funding community campaigns. They are at the vanguard of reducing thermal energy consumption and associated emissions through the widespread installation of residential and small-scale commercial RH&C equipment. These early programs can serve as guides for program design and can provide multiple “lessons learned” for launching future campaigns.   

Transitioning the thermal sector to RH&C technologies would lead to significant greenhouse gas reductions and help cities and states achieve their climate and energy goals. RH&C technologies such as air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, solar thermal, heat pump water heaters, and advanced biomass pellet boilers can use renewable energy sources to provide space heating and cooling and domestic hot water. These technologies can be used for whole home applications or for supplemental heating and cooling.

For more information on this topic, visit CESA’s Building Electrification through Renewable Heating and Cooling project webpage. Through this initative, CESA works with its member states to evaluate RH&C technologies and to develop policies and programs that support best practices to further develop the market for renewable thermal technologies.