Workshop for residents interested in clean energy

ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor’s Bureau of Sustainability and Innovation is hosting a virtual heat pump workshop on May 12 at 7 p.m. as population interest in heat pump technology grows among residents.

Workshop topics include how air and geothermal heat pumps work, recent technological advances, and the impact of moving from gas stoves to heat pumps and greenhouse gas emissions, said Julie Roth, director of the solarization program at the Bureau of Sustainability and Innovation.

A group of builders, installers and experts will answer questions from participants.

Gas stoves are the main source of heat for most people in the Midwest. Natural gas, also known as fracked gas, releases greenhouse gas methane into the environment, Roth said in an email.

Moving to heat pumps that use electricity and are efficient is a step in moving away from fracked gas, Roth said. Heat pumps are cleaner than gas stoves, and when combined with a cleaner electrical grid or on-site solar system, they are a space heating solution that doesn’t contribute to climate change, she said.

OSI hopes to start a year-long mass discount program to encourage residents to adopt heat pumps. Local installers and manufacturers are giving discounts and rebates to those who decide to purchase heat pumps for heating and / or cooling within the next 12 months, Roth said. It is hoped that the program can be started in conjunction with the workshop, she said.

This program is similar to OSI’s Solarize program, which offers a maximum group discount of 15%.

Solar Panel Allowed Triple In Ann Arbor Under New Program

Ann Arbor has more than tripled solar permit applications after Solarize launched in late 2019. In 2020 alone, 118 solar permits were issued. This compares to the estimated average of 30 solar permits in previous years.

Residents rarely think about burning a powerful greenhouse gas in their homes or businesses, Ross said. Methane is contributing to climate change, and any building that moves from burning fracked gas to heating with heat pumps brings Ann Arbor closer to its carbon neutral goals for A2Zero, she said.

Those interested in the heat pump workshop can register here.

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