From Advocate to Action
Mathew Tuttelman’s Sustainable Home Journey and the Pursuit of Net Zero Emissions
For some people, sustainable green living is a goal. A future priority they hope to someday embody and embrace. For others, like Mathew Tuttelman, it’s a lifestyle and a mission.
Tuttelman, a self-described climate crusader and energy transition educator and facilitator, has been on a journey toward net zero emissions, understanding that a single person can make a meaningful difference if they start at their greatest place of influence: at home.
Tuttelman and his family have lived in New England for decades in a quaint Cape-style house built in 1955. The home is a mix of original construction and modern renovation as they expanded their home’s square footage in 2008 as their family grew and living space was at a premium.
Since 2008, he has been making home and lifestyle changes to reach net zero carbon emissions at home, first making improvements around the margins, like installing a 1.8 kW Honda CoGeneration / Combined Heat & Power system to produce electricity and heat for the home under any circumstances and a ChargePoint Level II Residential to charge a Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid before eventually upgrading to a Tesla Model Y.
By 2019, big changes were happening. The Tuttelmans installed a 10.89 kW solar panel array on their roof, including battery technology for storing renewable energy at home.
Now, as their two children are grown and they adjust to an empty nest lifestyle, a new opportunity to make their home even more sustainable and efficient becomes possible.
“I first became aware of geothermal heating when someone in my town installed a system,” Tuttelman said. “The technology intrigued me, especially after learning that a close friend had also decided to use it for heating. My awareness was further heightened when I came across heat pumps that use geothermal energy.”
When Dandelion expanded its service from New York to Massachusetts in 2022, Tuttelman saw an opportunity to pursue proactive sustainability by replacing his aging AC Condensers and gas-powered furnaces with a more efficient electric-powered geothermal heating and cooling system.
Instead of waiting for the systems to quit working and making a replacement decision under duress, Tuttelman proactively pursued a more sustainable heating and cooling system to make his home more energy-efficient for decades.
Geothermal heating and cooling was an obvious choice.
“My interest in geothermal systems was amplified when I started following Dandelion, a company I had first heard about on the TV show “This Old House,” Tuttelman recalls. “Initially, they had launched their services in New York, followed by Connecticut. When I learned they were expanding into Massachusetts, I was immediately intrigued and keen to explore this opportunity.”
He began researching the technology extensively. He was initially considering installing air-source heat pumps, but he had reservations. Living in the Northeast, he wasn’t solely focused on whether these pumps could heat his home. He wanted to be sure the technology was robust enough to do so efficiently. Through his research, he discovered an important aspect: as the temperature drops, an air source heat pump has to work harder to provide the required heat, making it inefficient, especially during extremely cold days.
On the other hand, geothermal systems remain consistently efficient, even on the coldest days. The efficiency drop in an air source system compared to a geothermal one on a particularly chilly day is significant.
Making Sustainability More Affordable
For homeowners like Tuttelman, going green has never been more accessible or affordable.
“Through the MASS SAVE program, I discovered that I could qualify for financial incentives for making eco-friendly HVAC choices,” Tuttelman said. “I was eligible for a rebate of up to $15,000 if I chose to replace my whole home’s HVAC system. While an air source system qualified for a $10,000 rebate, a geothermal system had a higher rebate of $15,000.”
Tax incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act also brought down costs, allowing Tuttelman to claim a 30 percent tax credit on his geothermal system.
“Considering the initial cost subsidies and the 30% tax credit, combined with the long-term operational efficiency of geothermal systems, the choice became clear,” Tuttelman said.
Finally, through going back to the Mass Save program, Tuttelman was able to finance the balance of the system’s cost at 0% over 7 years through the Mass Save HEAT Loan program.
Even though Tuttelman’s home is equipped with solar panels and a battery, he was still drawing power from the grid. Since a home’s heating and cooling is a home’s most significant energy consumer and energy costs continue to rise, investing in a more sustainable heating and cooling system was a long-term cost-saving investment.
Dandelion Energy: Your Sustainability Partner
For many homeowners, intentionality is key to affordable and effective sustainable living.
Tuttelman encourages homeowners to be proactive, understanding that long-term energy sustainability isn’t just about buying the latest green technology. It’s about awareness and planning.
However, when the right solution arrives at the right place and the right price, the transformation can be life-changing.
“Since its installation in June, the geothermal system has dramatically enhanced my home experience,” Tuttelman said. “During the summer, the system’s airflow was consistent and quieter than older models. The absence of an outdoor condenser has made the environment much more peaceful while system sensors helped regulate effectively throughout the house.”
For Tuttelman, sustainability was a professional pursuit that became a personal priority.
“In my professional life, I work closely with large commercial businesses, guiding them on reducing their energy costs, enhancing their resiliency, and improving sustainability. Witnessing these significant changes made me reflect on my own practices,” Tuttelman said. “I felt compelled to align my personal actions with my professional recommendations.”
Homeowners looking to follow Tuttelman’s footsteps can visit https://dandelionenergy.com/ to learn more about geothermal heating and cooling or take the next steps and see if your home qualifies today.
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