LINCOLN–(News Release Jan. 4)–Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today said new incentives offered by the City of Lincoln toward the purchase and installation of residential heat pumps will help residents save money and increase their home heating and cooling efficiency.

Lincoln homeowners are now eligible for a $1,000 City of Lincoln-funded incentive toward the purchase of an air source heat pump. Eligible low-income residents who apply will receive $3,000 in City funds. Both may be combined with an $800 incentive from the Lincoln Electric System (LES) Sustainable Energy Program. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis through August 31, or until funds are expended, whichever comes first. Visit lincoln.ne.gov/HeatPump for more information.

“Heat pumps are a smart solution for many households. They can save money on heating and cooling costs, contribute to cleaner indoor air quality, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to our community’s affordability, health, and sustainability,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird.

The City of Lincoln allocated $500,000 to fund the pilot incentive in the 2022-2024 biennial budget. Forty percent of the funds will be directed to low- and moderate-income residents and will be allocated through the Urban Development Department. The remaining 60% is available to single-family Lincoln homeowners and will be distributed through LES.

Also joining Mayor Gaylor Baird at the news conference were Marc Shkolnick, LES manager, Energy Services; Steve Kirsch, President, Lincoln Heating and Air Conditioning Association; Urban Development Director Peter Hind, and City Councilman Bennie Shobe.

The heat pump incentive is designed to reach Lincoln homeowners at any income level, Hind said, including those who need additional financial support.

“Serving our low- and moderate-income residents is part of the mission of our Urban Development Department, and for that reason I am enthusiastic that we have allocated 40% of incentive funds to go toward residents in need,” Hind said.

Incentive details include:

  • Only homeowners or single-family rental property owners of single-family residences within Lincoln city limits are eligible. Low- and moderate-income homeowners who meet income guidelines may qualify for a higher rebate through the Urban Development Department’s housing support programs. For more information, please see the City’s Home Rehabilitation section on the Housing Support page.
  • The incentive covers purchase and installation of air source heat pumps with a minimum SEER2 (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of 15.2 and a minimum EER2 (Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 12. Heat pumps must replace an existing heat pump or air conditioner that is at least five years old. The unit may also replace a gas furnace and residents are urged to consult a heating/cooling expert to determine the best options for their homes.
  • Participating contractors will apply for both the City and LES incentives on residents’ behalf. Visit LES.com/SEP to see the list of participating HVAC contractors and additional information about the incentive. Email [email protected] for more information. Contact one or more of the Sustainable Energy Program participating contractors for bids and available incentives. Purchase and install the new heat pump through the selected contractor and incentives will be applied as a credit on the contractor’s invoice.

Kirsch said energy efficient heat pumps, which also act as air conditioners, are important because half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating. Accessing the incentive program is simple, he said.

“Both the City of Lincoln’s program and LES’s Sustainable Energy Program are user friendly. You can use the HVAC company of your choice, and they will handle all the paperwork for you. Your rebate will show up on your bill. It’s that easy,” Kirsch said. “If you are thinking about replacing aging equipment, keep these incentives in mind. This is an incredible incentive.”

Shkolnick said the LES Sustainable Energy Program has offered incentives for electric heating and cooling systems for several years. With the addition of the City’s incentives, he said, the number of new heat pump installations should increase even more dramatically in the year ahead.

“Our work with the City to promote and administer these heat pump incentives is yet another example of how collaboration will effectively achieve the city’s ambitious, but attainable, climate-smart goals,” Shkolnick said.

The incentive program benefits both the community and environment, Shobe said, by advancing goals outlined in the City of Lincoln’s Affordable Housing Action Plan and the City’s Climate Action Plan.

“The City of Lincoln’s heat pump incentive will help qualifying residents maintain and improve existing housing in all neighborhoods across Lincoln while reducing carbon emissions, resulting in a win-win for our community,” Shobe said.

For more information on heat pump incentives and the LES Sustainable Energy Program, visit lincoln.ne.gov/HeatPumpLES.com/SEP or email [email protected].