Resources

Welcome to the NEST Resources Page!

This page is designed to provide more in-depth information for those wishing to dig deeper into the technology and policies of our various programs.  This will serve as a curated (and often updated) source of news and educational content to help you enhance your understanding of these topics

Webinars/Events

HeatSmart November 2023 Webinar

November 28th, 2023

HeatSmart October 2023 Webinar

October 10th, 2023

Clean Energy Careers Webinar: How to Conduct a Job Search & Advice From Clean Energy Professionals

March 27th, 2023

HeatSmart New Berlin Webinar

March 16th, 2023

Justin Wadsworth RYCOR Testimonial

March 8th, 2023

HeatSmart Chenango Webinar

December 15th, 2022

HeatSmart Southern Tier at Hidden Springs Brewhouse​

December 9th, 2022

Kopernik Observatory Presentation

October 14th, 2022

Calling All Students! Clean Energy Career Day Webinar

March 31, 2022

HeatSmart Delaware Webinar

June 29, 2022

HeatSmart Endicott Webinar

August 17, 2022

Air Source Heat Pumps - Technology and Incentives with Air Source LLC

Heatsmart Southern Tier General Webinar

Heatsmart Delaware Webinar (Spring 2022)

The Insulation Man Partner Feature Webinar

Geothermal Home Case Study with Dailey Geothermal

Energy Efficiency Virtual Home Tour with the Insulation Man

Solar

How does solar technology work?

Solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy through photovoltaic (PV) panels or by concentrating solar-thermal power systems

This energy is used to generate electricity and can be stored through battery or thermal storage

Photovoltaic (PV)

  • PV cells function based on a chemical process known as the photovoltaic effect
  • Energy from the sunlight is absorbed by PV cells in a solar panel 
  • This energy creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electric field in the PV cell, allowing electricity to flow

Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal technologies absorb the heat of the sun and transfer it to useful applications, such as heating buildings or water

  1. Sunlight: sunlight hits the dark material in the collector, usually a mirror or lens, which heats up
  2. Circulation: Cool fluid (water) or air circulates through the collector, absorbing heat
  3. Use: The warmed fluid is used for applications such as water heating or heat storage

Composition of a Solar System

  • A solar cell is a single PV device
  • To boost the power output of solar cells, they are connected to form larger units called modules, or solar panels
  • Modules can be used individually or in combination to form arrays, which are the full solar system
  • Because of this modular structure, solar systems can be built to meet almost any electric power need

On-Grid vs. Off-Grid Solar

  1. On-Grid: connected to the power grid that supplies electricity for your home, electricity covers any gaps in your solar energy supply
  2. Off-Grid: No connection to the power grid, your electricity supply is completely reliant on solar energy. For reliability, you will need a backup battery system and/or a generator
  3. Hybrid Solar: Most reliable form of solar energy. Uses on-grid solar with a backup system to store extra solar energy to be used in the event of a power shortage

Your home will have three sources of energy at its disposal while still reducing its carbon footprint



Conversion of Energy

  • In order to convert the electricity that a solar panel generates (DC) to a form the electrical grid uses (AC), an inverter is needed.
  • Any unused AC will flow back into your utility meter and remain available for consumption

NYS homeowners are eligible for net metering, or returning unused AC back to the electric grid, in the form of energy credits on their next power bill.

Click here for more information.

What are the benefits of solar power?

1. Cost

  • A solar electric system is an opportunity for anyone to reduce their monthly utility bills and make a long-term, low risk investment
  • Once solar panels are installed, producing your power doesn’t cost you anything, you utilize free, renewable energy for years
  • Fossil fuel prices are costly and can fluctuate dramatically
  • By investing in a solar energy system, you can lock in the price you pay for electricity to protect against future increases in costs!
  • Federal and state solar tax credits and incentives allow you to deduct some of the costs from installing a solar system



2. Environment

  • Solar energy is renewable, sustainable, and can be accomplished in almost any situation
  • Just one hour of the summer sun at noon is equivalent to the annual U.S. electricity demand
  • Each unit of energy produced from solar reduces the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels
  • This energy is readily available and reduces environmentally damaging mining and extracting procedures



3. Community Solar

  • For people who do not have the space or financial means for residential solar, community solar is a more suitable option
  • Community solar links your utility bill directly to a local solar farm, allowing you to go solar without installation
  • These are shared by multiple subscribers, such as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and more
  • Purchasing a portion of a solar array offsets the energy your home uses in the form of credits to your utility bill
  • Interested in Community Solar? Head on over to our Community Solar tab under ‘Programs’

Energy Efficiency

Weatherization

Weatherization or weatherproofing is the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements, particularly from sunlight, precipitation, and wind, and of modifying a building to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency.

 

Weatherization Benefits

  • Increasing home safety 
  • Improving home comfort 
    • If your home is properly weatherized it will reduce drafts, improve humidity control, improve indoor air quality,and reduce risk of ice dams 
  • And possibly most importantly, weatherization will help reduce energy consumption and costs 
    • With a tightly sealed home, there is a lower chance that any heat will leak out of your home and that unwanted cool air will infiltrate your home
  • Overall, weatherization makes your home more comfortable to live in and more energy efficient

Common Air Leaks

This graphic helps show why having a properly insulated home is key to energy efficiency. Leaks will tend to occur in areas of a home where insulation is lacking, which is why having a tighter seal around your home will save you from using and spending more on energy. The arrows throughout this house depict the most common places where there is air leakage.

Cool air typically leaks through into the basement, and warm air escapes through the attic. If you’re interested in getting a heat pump or reducing your home’s energy costs, making sure your home is well insulated is very important.

Heat Pumps

How does a heat pump operate?

Heat pumps transfer air from one space into another instead of burning fossil fuels to produce heat.

They work to transfer hot air from the air or ground into your home in the winter and work in reverse in the summer months. As shown in the diagram, there are four main parts to a system; the evaporator, condenser, compressor, and expansion device.

Heat pumps can look different depending on the type of system and units you have installed. The three kinds of systems that NEST assists with are ground source, or geothermal, air source, and heat pump water heaters, covered below.

Check this video out to learn more!

Geothermal (Ground Source)

Ground source heat pumps take advantage of the naturally occurring difference between the above-ground air temperature and the subsurface soil temperature to both heat and cool buildings. This works because the ground temperature is warmer than the air in the winter and cooler than the air in the summer.

As for efficiency, ground source heat pumps require a small amount of electricity to drive the heating and cooling process. For every unit of electricity used, these heat pumps can deliver as much as five times the energy from the ground.

Types of Geothermal Loops

A ground source system consists of a heat pump connected to a continuous loop of piping that exchanges energy with the ground. There are two types of geothermal loops.

The loop is buried either horizontally in trenches just below the ground or vertically in holes that go several hundred feet below the ground. The heat pump then circulates a fluid, sometimes water, through the pipes to move heat from point to point.

Points of Connection

There are 3 points of connection in a ground source loop, the earth, the pump, and the distribution system. 

At the ground level, there are a series of connected pipes that are buried underground near the building. The fluid that circulates in the loop absorbs or relinquishes heat to the surrounding ground.

The heat pump works both to heat and cool. To heat, the pump removes the heat from the circulating liquid, concentrates it, and then transfers it to the building. To cool, the pump removes heat from the air in the building, concentrates it, and then transfers it back to the circulating liquid.

Distribution systems can be of various forms including: forced air through conventional ductwork (pipes, vents), hydronic (water), radiators, and radiant.

Air Source

Air source systems use electricity to power a compressor and two coils (one indoors and one outside), which aid in heat transfer.

In heating mode, liquid in the outside coil removes heat from the air and evaporates it into gas, then the indoor coil releases the heat to the inside of your house as it condenses the gas back into liquid.

When operating in reverse, the direction of the liquid flow is changed to facilitate cooling, by removing heat from the interior and releasing it outside.

Types of Air Source Systems

There are numerous types of air source systems. Below, we will cover the difference between duct-less and ducted, split and packaged, and single and multi-zone systems.

Ducted versus Duct-less

Ductless systems require minimal construction. Only a 3-inch hole through the wall is required to connect the system.

Ducted systems simply use ductwork and can use new or existing ventilation systems.

Short-run have traditional, large ductwork that runs through a small section of the house. It is often complimented with ductless units for the remainder of the house.

Split versus Packaged

Split systems have coils on the inside and outside, and supply and return ducts connect to the indoor central fan.

Packaged systems have coils and fans outside, and heated or cooled air is delivered indoors from ductwork.

Single-Zone versus Multi-Zone​

Single-zone systems (top) are designed for a single room and have one outdoor condenser matched to one indoor head. Indoor units can come in various styles, such as wall mounts, floor mounts, ceiling cassettes, and mini-ducts.

Multi-zone systems (bottom) allow you to heat or cool individual rooms with multiple indoor coils connected to one outdoor condenser. These systems create flexible ‘zones of comfort’.

Heat Pump Water Heater

A heat pump water heater is essentially an electric water heater with an air source heat pump on top. They use indoor air to heat the water and usually have a backup system to meet high demands.

These heat pumps work like a refrigerator, but in reverse, pulling warm air from the surrounding area, heating it, and then transferring it to the tank to heat your water.

Heat pump water heaters can be 2-3 times more efficient than their conventional counterparts and have lower operating costs as well.

Other Helpful Resources

Cornell Cooperative Extension's guide for farmers on how to improve energy savings and productivity.

Don't miss our upcoming events to learn more about clean heating and cooling for your home!

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