New Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot Program Will Help Construct Community Thermal Networks to Serve Multiple Buildings with Heat Pump Technology and Reduce Emissions

February 4, 2021

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that up to $15 million is available through a new program to pilot the use of community thermal systems to reduce buildings' greenhouse gas emissions. The new Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot Program will accept proposals to study, design and construct community thermal systems using heat pump technology, as well as produce a best practices guidebook. Community thermal ties together multiple buildings located in close proximity through shared heat pump piping and infrastructure. The heating and cooling of buildings is responsible for approximately 33 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and energy demand is growing every year. The program supports Governor Cuomo's nation-leading goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 as mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

"New York is confronting climate change head-on by using innovative new technologies to build cleaner and greener communities," Governor Cuomo said. "Building heating systems are a significant source of our state's greenhouse gas emissions, and this pilot program will allow us to explore the use of community thermal technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier, cleaner and greener New York for all."

The program can help building owners reduce the upfront capital costs of converting to a heat pump, such as drilling, construction and installation, and optimize building performance. Medical campuses, college and universities, city main streets, business districts, new construction developments and other organizations could potentially participate in this type of energy system.

The Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot program will select proposals on a competitive basis for ground-source, air-source, water-source or multi-source community thermal systems. Teams consisting of building owners and consultants or developers are eligible to submit a proposal to one of four categories that aligns with their current stage of project development: scoping study, detailed design study, construction and a best practices guidebook. Once applicants complete the deliverables in their initial category, they become eligible to submit a proposal to fund the next stage of development. Any team may apply for funding to develop a best practices guidebook regardless of whether they are involved in a project in any of the other three categories. Applicants are eligible to receive funding for all four categories, and a scoring committee will evaluate the proposals and award extra points for projects in disadvantaged communities.

The categories for which proposals will be accepted are as follows:

Category A: Scoping Study

  • Up to $100,000 per project is available to conduct a feasibility study to determine if a community thermal system would be the most practical and cost-effective method for heating and cooling a group of buildings or new construction development.

Category B: Detailed Design Study

  • Up to $500,000 per project is available to perform a detailed study evaluating issues, such as the financial and legal responsibilities of those building owners who wish to join the community thermal system, with the goal of bringing the project design to a shovel-ready status.

Category C: Construction

  • Up to $4 million per project is available for the construction of a shovel-ready community thermal system.

Category D: Best Practices Guidebook

  • Up to $250,000 per project is available to produce a best practices guidebook in order to streamline the pursuit of future community thermal systems and address logistical challenges faced during design and/or construction.

NYSERDA Acting President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Community thermal will allow many different types of buildings to be served through a collective heating and cooling system, helping to lower energy consumption and costs, and accelerate us toward Governor Cuomo's visionary and historic climate and clean energy goals. The building sector is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gasses in our state which provides significant opportunities to leverage and implement community-scale thermal systems and low carbon heating and cooling solutions across our building sector."

Ground sourced heat pumps are highly energy efficient and cost-effective systems which transfer heat or cold air to and from the ground using the Earth's consistent year-round underground temperature as a heat source in the winter and cooling source in the summer. Water sourced heat pumps utilize rivers or streams as their heat or cold air source. Air sourced heat pumps are also energy efficient and pull air from an indoor or outdoor space, separate it into hot and cold air, and return the desired temperate air back inside while discarding the undesired temperature outside. Heat pumps are proven to be more efficient, increase energy savings and provide a higher level of comfort than traditional fossil fuel heating systems.

This program is funded through NYSERDA's Clean Energy Fund, and this investment is part of New York's nation-leading building electrification efforts under the New York State Clean Heat Implementation Plan, approved in June 2020 and jointly administered by the investor-owned utilities and NYSERDA, that will commit nearly $700 million to building electrification solutions, including a variety of heat pump technologies.

Senator Kevin Parker said, "Reducing greenhouse emissions is a major proponent to ensuring a clean energy future for our state. Governor Cuomo's latest announcement allocating funding for community thermal systems will play a huge role in reaching our clean energy goals. I applaud Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for making clean energy a priority in the midst of a pandemic."

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

Governor Cuomo's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including over $4 billion invested in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while meeting a goal to deliver 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities and advancing progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 Tbtus.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit or follow us on TwitterLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., FacebookLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., YouTubeLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., or InstagramLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..