Q&A on Extreme Climate Air Source Heat Pumps!


Our own David talks with us about why he chose Heat Pumps for his home

With this crazy cold weather, we have had a lot of inquires about the new extreme climate air source heat pump technologies out there. They’re pretty darn cool – some of the newer Air source heat pumps models are able to heat and cool with extreme efficiency – even in negative degree weather!

So how well do they work? Are they worth the investment?

Lucky for us – you can read an interview from one of our very own, David Swinehart. Not only is he an expert building scientist here at Buffalo Energy, he also installed his hyper heat system last year in his own home! Here is what he has to say about it all.

(Note: we are not being paid in any way to write about this or the Mitsubishi product!)

Q. What type of heating system do you have in your home? 

A. I have (2) two Mitsubishi, 18,000 BTU 20.2 SEER Ductless Hyper Heat Pump Systems in my house.  This consists of (2) two outside condenser units, (2) two inside head blower units, and a (2) two remote thermostats.”  One head heats and cools upstairs, and one services heat pumpdown stairs.

Q. What prompted you to change your heating system?

A.  I do not have access to natural gas where I live.  Also, my house has an old fuel oil furnace which was costing about $2,000 to $3,000 a year to run.  Both Propane and fuel oil are quite expensive and will more then likely continue to be.  For the past two years I’ve been using a 85% efficient  36,000 btu pellet burner which has it’s limitations.  With a new baby on the way, my wife wanted a more complete, whole house, heating and cooling solution.  Plain and simple, Energy Star Heat heat pumps were the way to go.

Q. How big is your home and what town is it located in?

A.  1500 sqft, Corfu NY

Q. Overall thoughts? Like? Dislike? Does it work?

A. Does it work? Yes, this systems works! Even when it got to -9 outside, we had ample heat.

Likes – we are blown away with how consistent and even the heat is from these systems.  We have never been more comfortable in our home, and for such a low monthly cost.  About $100 to $150 a month during the winter months.  The head units are quite and can be set to move and direct air in a number of different ways.  Also, we know have our home broken into 2 zones, that can be heated and cooled independently of each other.

Dislikes – These systems do cause the air to be dry.  Until I can afford to install a whole house ventilator with humidification, we will have to run small, single room humidifiers.

The condensers are mounted directly to my house with a bracketing system.  There is a slight vibration that is heard when the condensers are running.  This could be eliminated with “off the house” condenser placement.  

Q. What were the biggest challenges with putting in the heating system?

A.  Install is very simple, two technicians had both systems installed and operating in one day.You need a bit of an open floor plan if your going to install 2 or less larger units.  The smaller 9kbtu and 12kbtu heads are meant to service single rooms.  I have two 18kbtu heads where one head services upstairs, down a central hallway, and the other services the first floor.  In a home that does not have hyper insulated walls and windows, doors must be left open to allow rooms to receive heat.

Cost might be a challenge for some.  This system costs about $7,000 to $9,000 installed.  This is similar to typical, high end, high efficiency heating and cooling system.  

Q. Would you recommend this heating system for other home owners?

A.  Yes, without a doubt!

 heat pump 2

Berlin, NH – An Energy Efficiency Success Story!

In 2012, we spent a lot of time up in New Hampshire doing energy efficiency projects, using the last of the ARRA funding. It was a great success – with dozens of affordable multifamily buildings getting new energy efficiency upgrades!

Here is an article that describes the Berlin Housing Authority project that we worked on. As the official energy efficiency partner for this project, we were able to help the owners identify cost effective energy efficiency measures to save energy and increase comfort inside their buildings for years to come! 

“The implementation of the Energy Reduction Project not only made the residents happy, it gave a boost to the local economy by pumping one-half million dollars back into the community, since all local businesses were used to deploy the plan. In a small community like Berlin, businesses often work together well because of being familiar with other businesses’ needs and capabilities.”


Lastly, it has been amazing to work with Mary Jo Landry and her team who really understood the many benefits of doing an energy efficiency project. Directly from the article: “Without the vision and tenacity of our Board of Commissioners and Executive Director Mary Jo Landry, none of this would have been possible. “We do it for our residents, who may be your family or your neighbors or someone you know from a store you frequented. Many are still contributing members of our community. We owe it to them and our future generations to be responsible stewards for our seniors, our disadvantaged and our natural resources. This means providing a comfortable, positive, healthy place for them to live.”

Berlin Housing Authority

Happy Holidays from Buffalo Energy!

As we head into the holiday season, we just wanted to say Happy Holiday’s to you and your loved ones!



2015 Energy Code Changes for Commercial Buildings in New York State!

Energy Codes are changing, folks!BSC_logo

As of January 1st, 2015, the new Energy Conservation Construction Code (ECCCNYS) will be in effect for Commercial Buildings! The new code will have a greater focus on energy efficiency, specifically regarding the building envelop and the HVAC equipment.

Taken directly from the source: “November 18, 2014 the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council voted to adopt an update to commercial provision of the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State (ECCCNYS).The ECCCNYS addresses the design and construction of energy-efficient building envelopes and the installation of energy-efficient mechanical, lighting and power systems through requirements emphasizing performance. This comprehensive code establishes minimum requirements for energy-efficient buildings using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. It makes possible the use of new materials and innovative techniques that conserve energy. The ECCCNYS 2014 which will primarily effect Commercial building construction and renovation, has an effective date of January 1, 2015.”

How do these code changes impact your next project?  One thing is clear – having an energy efficiency partner like Buffalo Energy will be critical for your next project! You will need an expert on your team who understands code changes, blower door testing protocols, ASHRAE standards and how to blend all these things together to create a good project that is financially viable. Energy efficiency partners are key because companies like us have been working to meet and exceed rigorous energy efficiency program standards for years!

Let us help you! We will work with your design team to create the proper shell / HVAC specifications to meet code demands. We will meet with your construction crews to provide construction oversight, proper training on in the field and we will perform inspections to ensure compliance during the construction process.  Additionally, after construction, we will complete the proper test out procedures to confirm code compliance. Lastly, we can identify and qualify your project for energy efficiency incentives where available.

Call us today. The last thing you want to do is to bring us in at the end when the walls are up… because once the walls are up, you’ll give yourself brain damage trying to meet these new code requirements – if you can at all.

You can read about the code changes here: http://www.dos.ny.gov/dcea/energycode_code.html

To check out code training opportunities click here.

Photo courtesy of the USGBC

Photo courtesy of the USGBC


Major NYSERDA/GJGNY Financing Transition Update – December 4, 2014

NYSERDA Financing is on its way out… this means we need PACE financing to get approved in all areas of New York State ASAP.
Read about the transition here: GJGNY Financing Changes_to Partners
Date: December 4, 2014 
Subject: Green Jobs-Green New York Financing Transition


Green Jobs-Green New York (GJGNY) Transition

NYSERDA greatly values your participation in our programs and appreciates your partnership in building the market for energy efficiency and/or solar power in New York State.

Since the launch of GJGNY programs in the Fall of 2010, the clean energy market has continued to grow and mature throughout the State. NYSERDA has supported the completion of over 62,000 residential energy efficiency audits and over 24,000 energy efficiency projects. In addition, solar PV has made significant gains, especially since the establishment of the NY-Sun Initiative.

As a result of this market growth, private sector options for customers to invest in and finance clean energy solutions have increased. With this progress, NYSERDA is making changes to GJGNY in order to 1) better focus state resources on underserved areas of the clean energy market, including low- to moderate-income (LMI) households and economically distressed communities, and 2) avoid directly competing with newly emerging and growing private sector solutions.

NYSERDA intends to make the following changes to its GJGNY energy efficiency and solar financing programs:


Financing will continue to be offered to LMI customers (those with household income less than or equal to 80% of the area median income) for energy efficiency and solar loans on the current
terms (3.49%, terms up to 15 years, Smart Energy or OBR loans).

  • Effective July 1, 2015, assuming at least two third-party loan products are available for market rate customers, GJGNY residential energy efficiency and solar thermal loans (including On-Bill Recovery (OBR)) will be limited to LMI. 
  • Effective April 1, 2015 GJGNY residential solar PV loan applications will be limited to LMI customers. 
  • Effective January 2, 2015 GJGNY loans for multifamily properties will no longer be provided. 
  • Effective April 1, 2015 GJGNY loans for small businesses and nonprofits will no longer be provided. 
NYSERDA will facilitate the introduction of new financing products to our partners through written material and webinars conducted by the lenders.NYSERDA will also launch the following strategies and initiatives to continue supporting the increase in market-wide penetration of energy efficiency and renewable energy:

Starting this week, Community Solar NY will offer “solarize” grants to community groups and organizations to support the aggregation of residential solar projects; these grants will drive down customer acquisition and other soft costs to enable a greater number of households across the state to take advantage of the benefits of solar power.

Starting in mid-2015, the NY-Sun Initiative will pilot various strategies to support solar in LMI

NYSERDA will pursue and support adoption of “open source” OBR programs (where financing is made available by private capital providers), through anticipated legislative action. A vibrant clean energy marketplace is defined by its competitiveness. Fortunately, New York is making great strides to accelerate and expand private investments in the clean energy economy, to support and attract new business models and market participants, and to continue focusing public resources on underserved areas of the market. We look forward to continuing to partner with you as NYSERDA works to significantly build scale in energy efficiency and solar markets. Please watch for additional information regarding the new financing options, and in the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact

Karen Hamilton at karen.hamilton@nyserda.ny.gov or John Ahearn at john.ahearn@nyserda.ny.gov.

The Many Benefits of Cellulose Insulation.

Cellulose insulation is so much more than just saving money on your heating and cooling costs! Let’s talk about some of the benefits of installing blown cellulose into your home!

Sound Reduction: Did you realize that insulation can help reduce sounds traveling inside and outside of your home? One of our clients was thrilled that once he had cellulose blown into his walls, he could no longer hear his neighbors! This is great for those who live in more urban spaces where they have less space between houses.

Added Comfort: Insulation is like adding a sweater to your body. The dense material adds comfort to your home because once installed, there are less drafts coming in through the wall cavities.

Insulating Older Homes:  Homes built prior to 1960’s are likely to have little to no insulation in the attics and walls. In an existing older building, it is much easier to install blown cellulose insulation in without potentially damaging the historic elements of the home! Check here for an informative brief from the National Park Service on general energy efficiency tips in historic buildings.

Safety: Insulation is known for reducing the spread of fire. There are many case studies but this video is our favorite. Check this video out and see it for yourself!


Let it snow!

The snow is upon us, Buffalo!

If you are in need of heating, air sealing and/or insulation services – give us a call right away. We can do an energy audit for your home to identify the most cost effective measures and install it for you! If you are a low income renter or home owner, you may qualify for FREE energy efficiency upgrades, too. This is going to be another tough winter and you deserve to feel comfortable and warm in your home. Give us a call today.


Navigating Your Way Through The NYS Energy Efficiency Programs

We wanted to re post this Buffalorising article onto our website.

Bernice tests for CO levels.

Bernice tests for CO levels.

As the temperatures start to drop, many of us worry about how high our heating bills will be. Why worry and stress when there are programs you can take advantage of to reduce your utility costs? Doing energy efficiency upgrades will reduce your heating costs and it will provide added comfort, safety and value to your home!

One of the biggest hurdles is navigating and understanding the NYSERDA New York State residential incentive programs. It is important to note that all these programs require paperwork, time and energy to participate but their results are worth it! NYSERDA will not accept a project that does not make financial sense – meaning you will see a payback and you’ll worry less about how high that heat bill is going to be!

Here is a quick rundown of the programs out there for you.

Paul insulated blown in cellulose into an attic floor cavity. This is a great measure to drastically reduce your utility costs - and it is cost effective!

Paul insulated blown in cellulose into an attic floor cavity. This is a great measure to drastically reduce your utility costs – and it is cost effective!

For Single Family Home Owners (1 – 4 Units)

Your first step: get an energy assessment completed for your home!

For a very limited time, the energy assessment is FREE or provided at a reduced rate depending on your income. The energy assessment will help you identify your priorities and identify costs and savings paybacks for you.

Here are the programs available currently for residential home owners.

·  empower ny – NYSERDA’s EmPower New York program offers FREE energy efficiency services to low-income (i.e., HEAP-eligible) homeowners and/or renters. These services include lighting, insulation and appliance upgrades and more. This is a great program for low income renters who pay utilities – you will immediately reduce your utility bills. click here for details.

·   national fuel has additional cash rebates out there for furnaces, boilers and other upgrades for the 2014/2015 calendar year. (Note: National Fuel incentives and NYSERDA’s programs cannot be combined!)

· assisted home performance – Free home energy assessments and grants of up to $5,000 to pay up to 50 percent of the cost of energy upgrades for low income home owners/renters.

· home performance w/ energy star – Qualify for a 10% cashback incentive and low-interest financing that help you save on the cost of energy upgrades, then pay for them without stretching your budget.

Cyd does an energy audit and blower door test on a house being renovated for HGTV here in Buffalo, NY!

Cyd does an energy audit and blower door test on a house being renovated for HGTV here in Buffalo, NY!

For Multifamily Building Owners (5+ units)

If you own an existing multifamily building and want to upgrade your boilers, windows, insulation, lighting and other energy related items, you can qualify for up to $1,300 per unit in cash incentives if you commit to reducing your utilities by at least 15%. Buildings all around Buffalo have taken advantage of this program already; just ask metro horizon and l&t realty!

For more information on the NYSERDA Multifamily Program, click here.

Important Note: these programs can change quickly! For more information, check out the nyserda website.

Bernice Radle works for buffalo energy. Buffalo Energy designs, consults and installs energy efficiency projects in residential, multifamily and commercial buildings across New York State.

Buffalo Energy Attends The NYSERDA Multifamily Partner Conference in Troy, NY!

We just got back from the annual NYSERDA Multifamily Partner Conference! This conference is where all the partners from across the state convene to learn and discuss what works / doesn’t work and lessons learned from other multifamily projects. This conference comes at a critical time – NYSERDA as we know it is changing and shifting their focus to Clean Energy, PACE financing is picking up steam and building codes are changing next year for residential and commercial buildings. (Much more on that later!) This conference was a great way to discuss the future and how we plan to adapt to all of these changes!

You can read more about the upcoming NYSERDA changes here. We plan to do a bigger blog post explaining our take on it all very soon.

Buffalo Energy at the NYSERDA MPP Partner Conference

Buffalo Energy at the NYSERDA MPP Partner Conference. From left to right – Fred, Cyd, Michael, Bernice, David, Melanie and Peggy.


Air Sealing & Insulating The Jefferson Apartments in Niagara Falls, NY

Fun Photo Friday! Our crews are in downtown Niagara Falls air sealing and insulating the historic Jefferson Apartments. Thanks to our crew air sealing around the gaps and cracks throughout their apartments and in the basement, the residents can now say goodbye to all those pesky winter drafts! Air sealing also reduces the weird smells, pests and noises that can transfer between apartments. Call us today if you have drafts and comfort issues in your home – you’d be surprised how inexpensive / cost effective it is to air seal, weatherize and insulate your home! If you don’t believe us, you’ll believe this. #comfortmatters