Seattle-based nonprofit Spark Northwest is collaborating with the cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, and Redmond on an energy-efficiency program, Energy Smart Eastside, designed to educate homeowners about energy-saving heat pumps and incentivize their installation, according to a news release on the program.
Residents of the cities can choose from among five one-hour virtual workshops, which start next week, to learn about the program. Workshop participants are eligible to receive a discount to reduce installation cost by at least $500 and the discount is not income restricted, according to Amy Bettle, project manager at Spark Northwest.
Some jurisdictions have additional incentives based on income. The workshops will help inform people of the heat pump technology, utility incentives, and financing opportunities, with the goal to move more people away from fossil fuel heating and cooling systems to electric heat pump technology that also saves money. Puget Sound Energy customers also may qualify for additional cash incentives, if upgrading from another electric heat source, the release said.
Eastside residents and property owners can choose from workshops running from July 26-Sept. 27. A schedule of the free workshops is on the program’s website, where people also can register.
Heat pumps are highly efficient heating and cooling systems that use less energy than traditional electric heating systems and can lower utility bills, according to the release.
The Energy Smart Eastside heat pump campaign reduces the regular price of a heat pump, simplifies the installation process for customers, and provides guidance on utility incentives and low-interest financing. By working directly with heat pump manufacturers, local distributors, and expert installers to streamline the process, Energy Smart Eastside ensures participants receive high-quality work and excellent customer service, the release said.
Gensco is the heat pump distributor and will be working with at least 10 quality installers for the program, Bettle said. Heat pumps will be Mitsubishi products.
While renters may participate in the workshops, the program and its incentives are for property owners. However, the program does hope to reach owners of multifamily housing who would consider heat pump technology.
“The City of Issaquah is pleased to partner with our neighboring cities to offer the heat pump program to our community,” Issaquah Mayor Lou Pauly said in the release. “Campaigns like Energy Smart Eastside help educate residents on energy savings and have a positive impact on climate change. The City has also committed funding for no-cost installations in a limited set of low-income households during this first year and looks forward to expanding the program in the future.”
Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson, Redmond Mayor Angela Birney, and Kirkland Councilmember Kelli Curtis also praised the program for its energy savings, climate benefits, and technology that provides efficient home heating and cooling.
Added Robinson, “This program is open to all Bellevue residents and those at certain income levels can take advantage of generous incentives and financing options for no-cost installations.”