Mercer Island residents participated in community surveys to help drive the city’s Climate Action Plan to completion in April, and now locals have the opportunity to conserve energy while evenly heating and cooling their homes by switching to heat pumps.
With the switch from gas furnaces, they can concurrently help save the environment and save up to $6,400 with the pump purchase through the city’s participation in the Energy Smart Eastside program, which is a partnership with the cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland and Redmond.
According to Alanna DeRogatis, Mercer Island’s sustainability program analyst, income-eligible Islanders and other Eastsiders can also receive a $1,500 rebate during the recently-promoted fuel-switch campaign. For more information, visit: https://www.energysmarteastside.org/.
DeRogatis, who began working for the city in August, has experienced a wave of Islander enthusiasm for the heat pump program.
“I had some Islanders emailing me directly saying, ‘Hey, I’m looking to switch to a heat pump. What do you recommend as my first step?’ Which was really exciting for me to see. And I know our program manager has also had a whole bunch of voicemails. (It’s) definitely getting a lot of traction,” DeRogatis said.
MI has been involved in the climate initiative since its inception in July of 2022. The Energy Smart Eastside website notes that the program — which is managed by city of Bellevue’s Sarah Phillips — is funded by city dollars matched with grants from the Washington Department of Commerce Clean Energy Fund and WSU Community Energy Efficiency Programs.
The representatives in the five-city program are hoping to grow the initiative beyond heat pumps to further help drive change in their communities with residents playing a critical role, DeRogatis said.
“We all have climate goals that we’re all part of at the city level, at the county level,” she added. “I think everybody feels really passionate, really excited and knows that this is a really exciting time to be kind of doing this sort of work.”
A previous Reporter article noted that a “wedge analysis” snapshot displayed at a city council meeting in November of 2022 indicated that the Island’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets (with a percentage established from a 2007 baseline) are set on 50% for 2030 and 95% for 2050.