Awardee Profiles

The Walsh/Suave Home

Did you know that Maddy Walsh and Mike Suave, the stars of Ithaca’s beloved band Maddy Walsh & The Blind Spots, are also local climate heroes? When the two musicians moved into their cozy retrofitted barn in 2009, the space was already nice and snug, but a colossal 1,000 gallon fuel oil tank hid beneath the floorboards. For years and years, the smell of burning oil wafted through the air as they tried to heat their home, leading to poor indoor air quality that left Maddy and Mike with irritated eyes and dry throats. When they welcomed baby Rhodi Rocket into the world last summer, they knew they didn’t want him growing up with the same issues. These challenges, along with the economic and environmental costs of heating with fossil fuels, made the pair eager to switch to clean energy! 

When Maddy and Mike applied through Halco to explore alternatives to oil heat and see what assistance was available, Trevor at Halco directed them to the Climate Fund. They applied for our grant, got approved, and were able to make the clean energy switch! Though the empty fuel tank still lingers in the basement, Halco upgraded their home to a highly efficient air source heat pump, ultimately preventing 216.6 tons of CO2 from entering our atmosphere! 

Since the easy-breezy installation, the heat pump has kept the family happy through the harshest lows of the icy Ithaca winter and the sweltering highs of our latest June heatwave! Beyond the improvements in comfort and reduced energy bills, Mike and Maddy are also thrilled to be living in a more eco-friendly home. As Maddy’s friend remarked, “When people ask you what you did to prevent further human impact on the climate, you can tell them you actually did everything you could.” Congratulations to our 90th Finger Lakes Climate Fund Awardees!



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