What is Heat Smart Otsego and who is organizing it?

Heat Smart Otsego (HSO) is a community-based education and group purchasing program for clean heating and cooling technologies. Heat Smart Otsego seeks to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to improve building comfort and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heating and cooling by adopting advanced air-source and ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps and modern wood heating systems including pellet and wood gasification boilers and EPA-certified Pellet Stoves at a discount from the regional average.  Heat Smart Otsego seeks to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to improve building comfort and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heating and cooling by adopting advanced air-source and ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps, biomass boilers and EPA certified pellet stoves at a discount from the regional average.

From middle of October 2018 through the end of May 2019, residents and businesses in Otsego County will be able to purchase these selected technologies at a special, limited-time discount from competitively-selected installers. Throughout this program, Heat Smart Otsego will offer educational outreach and open house events to give you the chance to learn more about what technology might be best suited for you.

Heat Smart Otsego is led by Campaign Director, Bennett Sandler. Bennett previously worked as a Home Performance Contractor for almost 10 years in Otsego and surrounding counties. He has performed energy audits on over 400 homes and businesses and holds certifications from the Building Performance Institute in Building Analyst, Envelope Specialist and Heating Specialist. He has also held certifications as both a HERS Energy Rater and an International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Installer as Owner and Principal at Equity Energy LLC. Heat Smart Otsego is one of eight community campaigns across New York State currently funded by NYSERDA to promote clean, renewable thermal energy systems. The Heat Smart Otsego organizers also receive technical support from the Cadmus Group and the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.

How does Heat Smart Otsego work?

Does the concept of Heat Smart Otsego sound a bit familiar?

It might: Heat Smart Otsego is modeled after the successful Solarize and community-based solar programs hosted in various New York communities since 2012. The Heat Smart Otsego team, with support from NYSERDA and other technical advisors, are adapting the Solarize model to fit clean heating and cooling technologies.

Heat Smart Otsego aims to bring you the same straightforward, hassle-free approach that made Solarize so popular in our towns. Heat Smart Otsego offers an easy way to learn about and purchase clean heating and cooling technologies from some of the most qualified installers in the region--all at prices below the regional and state averages. All you have to do is sign up for Heat Smart Otsego, indicating which clean heating and cooling technologies you’re most interested in, and one (or more) of our competitively-selected installers will take it from there.

How does Heat Smart Otsego offer a discounted price?

One of the goals of Heat Smart Otsego is to offer transparent, discounted pricing to residents and businesses. Due to the high potential volume of leads concentrated in a small geographic area, Heat Smart Otsego’s selected installers are able to get best, bulk pricing from their manufacturers and distributors and be more efficient with scheduling and coordinating personnel. Heat Smart Otsego’s volunteers will also lead outreach and help drive leads to these installers.

In exchange, Heat Smart Otsego has worked with these installers to ensure that they are passing their savings down to Heat Smart customers. Installers evaluated for this program were asked to bid in with their best pricing, and these bids were benchmarked against regional and statewide average pricing information provided by other Heat Smart Campaigns.

How were the Heat Smart Otsego installers selected?

Interested installers were invited to submit bids through a competitive, public request for proposals to participate in Heat Smart Otsego in September. In October, a technical review committee put together by Heat Smart Otsego evaluated proposals with support from NYSERDA, the Cadmus Group, and VEIC.

Ultimately, the Heat Smart Otsego team selected D & D Refrigeration (air source heat pumps), NP Environmental (ground source heat pumps), Vincent’s Heating and Fuel (biomass boilers), and Hearths A’Fire (pellet stoves) based on several factors, including their experience with working with local homes and businesses, equipment installation expertise, strong record of customer service, experience with community education, and pricing.


Why should I participate now?

Only customers who sign contracts with one of the Heat Smart Otsego installers by May 31, 2019 will receive this discount.

Additionally, the variety of incentives that are available today are changed or eliminated from time to time. Now is the best time to lock in your discounted price and take advantage of the rebates available to you today.

Is participation in this program limited to Otsego County residents and businesses?

At this time, yes. While you are welcome to reach out to any of our selected installers, only Otsego County residents and businesses are eligible to receive the Heat Smart Otsego standard pricing.

There are other Heat Smart Campaigns running in adjacent regions. Heat Smart Southern Tier is running a campaign in Chenango and Delaware Counties. Heat Smart Central New York is running a campaign that includes Madison County. If you live in adjacent counties to Otsego that do not currently have a Heat Smart Program, please contact Campaign Director to see about participating in this year’s campaign.

What is clean heating and cooling and what technologies is Heat Smart Otsego offering?

In cold climates like upstate New York, heating and cooling accounts for over 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Reducing emissions from heating and cooling will be necessary for the state to meet its target of reducing emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. In 2017, NYSERDA released a statewide strategy for increasing the adoption of clean heating & cooling (also known as “renewable thermal”) technologies.

Clean heating and cooling describes high-efficiency heating and cooling technologies that can use thermal energy derived from renewable sources—including the sun, air, earth, and sustainably-harvested bioenergy. Because of their importance to meeting our state climate goals, state and local governments and utilities across the state are offering thousands of dollars in incentives to support their adoption.

Heat Smart Otsego is offering four CH&C technologies:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Ground source or geothermal heat pumps
  • Biomass Boilers
  • Pellet Stoves

There are other CH&C technologies (e.g., solar hot water, heat pump hot water heaters, and air-to-water heat pumps) that may be added to future Heat Smart Campaigns.

Questions? Contact the Heat Smart Otsego Campaign Director, Bennett Sandler (

The Heat Smart Otsego Clean Heating and Cooling Community Campaign is a project of the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA) with financial support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).