Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams Announce $70 Million Initial Investment to Decarbonize NYCHA Buildings as Part of Clean Heat for All Challenge
Midea America and Gradient Selected by NYPA to Develop New Heat Pump Technology and Produce 30,000 Initial Units
August 2, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced that the New York City Housing Authority, New York Power Authority and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are moving forward with the Clean Heat for All Challenge (#CleanHeat4All or #CH4A) through a planned $70 million initial investment in the development and production of 30,000 new heat pump units for use in New York City Public Housing facilities. Last week, the NYPA Board of Trustees awarded the funding through two seven-year contracts to Midea America and Gradient for the development and delivery of cold climate packaged window heat pump units. The announcement is the latest milestone in the Clean Heat for All Challenge, an initiative spearheaded by NYCHA, NYPA, and NYSERDA to develop a new electrification product that can better serve the heating and cooling needs of existing multifamily buildings and hasten the transition to fossil-free heating sources.
"New York is tackling the climate crisis and the need for affordable housing head on, and today we're taking additional action through a transformative $70 million investment," Governor Hochul said. "Prioritizing green investments in public housing ensures the State's bold climate agenda is equitable - benefiting all New Yorkers now and for decades to come. All NYCHA residents deserve high quality homes and New York will continue to take aggressive measures to help ensure residents have the safe, livable, and quality affordable housing they deserve."
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, "Our administration is laser-focused on providing safe, high-quality, affordable housing for all New Yorkers, and today, we are delivering on a commitment in our housing blueprint that brings us one step closer. We understand better than ever that our city's most pressing crises are interconnected, but the solutions can be too. I am so proud to be partnering with Governor Hochul to deliver top-of-the-line technology for NYCHA residents to heat and cool their homes while also reducing our carbon footprint and helping to protect New Yorkers from health issues like asthma."
Interim NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, "NYPA is excited to progress the Clean Heat for All Challenge through the selection of the initiative's first vendors, which will develop and produce 30,000 heat pump units for the benefit of NYCHA residents. The Decarbonization of buildings—the state's largest carbon emissions source—is critical to achieving the Governor's ambitious climate change goals."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen Harris said, "NYSERDA is proud to support the Clean Heat for All Challenge and congratulates these two innovative companies as they begin work on what is expected to be an efficient, cost-effective, easy to install, heating and cooling solution for NYCHA residents. The combined focus on advancing new heat pump technology in multifamily buildings and ensuring the health and comfort of underserved populations supports Governor Hochul's commitment to achieve two million climate-friendly homes by 2030 while ensuring that all New Yorkers benefit from clean energy investments."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Lowering or eliminating the reliance on fossil fuels in existing and new buildings is fundamental to New York State achieving the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Today's announcement clearly demonstrates how the collective efforts of state and local government to decarbonize our housing stock will create climate-friendly affordable homes as well as healthier, safer, and more resilient communities for all New Yorkers."
New York City Housing Authority Chair & CEO Greg Russ said "The lack of an efficient and affordable solution for electric heating and cooling remains one of the primary hurdles for meaningfully reducing our carbon emissions footprint, especially for many of the tall residential buildings that comprise our portfolio. This innovative public-private partnership helps move NYCHA towards a low-carbon future, by bringing the promising technology of beneficial electrification to the largest public housing authority in the United States."
Heat pump technology provides efficient cooling and heating from a single unit by moving heat between the indoor and outdoor spaces depending on the season. The process is achieved through the refrigeration cycle, which can be up to four times more efficient than traditional heating systems, such as boilers, which rely on on-site combustion of fossil fuels to produce heat. Heat pumps are difficult to install, particularly in occupied units. As a result, many operators prefer to delay electric conversion in favor of in-kind replacement of fossil fuel systems.
Over the next year, NYPA will coordinate with Midea America and Gradient to develop the proposed heat pump technology for testing and demonstration. NYPA will then collaborate with NYCHA to install 60 of the developed units in designated public housing to be comprehensively monitored and assessed over the course of a winter season before moving forward with the widespread installation of 30,000 units throughout the following years.
The heat pump units developed to meet the Clean Heat for All Challenge will enable rapid, low-cost electrification of space heating in multifamily buildings by reducing or eliminating many of the cost drivers inherent to installing existing heat pump technologies in resident occupied apartments, including electrical system upgrades, lengthy refrigerant piping and through-wall drilling and penetrations.
Midea America, which was awarded a contract for 20,000 units, is a global appliance manufacturer founded in 1968 with headquarters in China and the U.S., 11 factories around the globe, and annual output of 67 million units. They are a market leader in room air conditioning with a line of Energy Star rated window ACs, dehumidifiers and other packaged ACs.
Founded in 2015, Gradient is a startup based in San Francisco, California that was awarded a contract to manufacture 10,000 units. The proposed unit will be a cold climate heat pump capable of operating at low temperatures based on NYCHA's specifications. The company intends to manufacture the product domestically in the United States.
Clean Hear for All Challenge
The Clean Heat for All Challenge directly supports the goals of New York State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) and the New York City Climate Mobilization Act, which both call for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by the year 2030. By leveraging NYCHA's portfolio of 2,198 residential building, Clean Heat for All is designed to spur innovation and growth of this product in the United States by positioning NYCHA as an early adopter of this technology, while also providing NYCHA residents with modern system of heating and cooling that they can directly control.
NYCHA estimates a need for approximately 156,000 cold climate window heat pumps over the next 5-10 years in order to electrify its portfolio to achieve 80 percent greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 per New York City's Local Law 97. Beyond NYCHA, such a unit would be applicable to other large portfolio managers including other public affordable housing operators and universities.
NYPA is providing upfront financing and supporting the implementation of the challenge and NYSERDA is providing $13 million for the demonstration phase, including initial purchase, monitoring and performance assessment with funds approved through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Operating Plan. NYCHA will invest an additional $250 million—inclusive of the $70 million announced today toward the initiative—to purchase and install the new equipment as well as provide additional improvements to the building envelopes and domestic hot water systems.
Other NYCHA Clean Energy Initiatives
To supplement this capital investment, NYCHA is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYS-DHSES) to secure funding at several developments that were impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, a presidentially declared disaster. Where the recovery includes restoration of heating systems and/or otherwise intersects with these systems, NYCHA will work with these agencies to leverage this funding source (both restoration funding and funding for cost-effective mitigation) in the restoration of these systems, where applicable.
In tandem with the Clean Heat for All Challenge, NYCHA and the Fund for Public Housing are also launching a Clean Energy Academy to position NYCHA residents to work in building electrification and clean energy careers. The Fund for Public Housing, with a grant from NYSERDA and philanthropic support from New York Power Authority, National Grid, NorthLight Foundation, Trinity Church Wall Street Philanthropies, and Rise Light and Power, will train 100 public housing residents through the Academy in its first two years, preparing graduates for careers in clean energy. Through the development of the Clean Energy Academy, NYCHA will continue to prioritize clean energy jobs for public housing residents as part of its efforts to decarbonize its buildings.
In June, Governor Hochul signed legislation creating the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust, a public benefit corporation, to help NYCHA invest billions of dollars in capital to fund repair, rehabilitation, and modernization of 25,000 apartments under NYCHA control. The Trust also guarantees homes are kept affordable by preserving rights that ensure residents only pay 30 percent of their income toward rent, residents maintain all current succession rights, apartments will continue to be reserved for low-income residents, and that apartment vacancies will continue to be filled using the NYCHA waiting list.
State Senator Kevin Parker said, "I am especially excited about the latest milestone in the Clean Heat for All Challenge which will invest $70 million in developing and producing 30,000 new heat pump units for NYCHA facilities. This investment stays true to Local Law 97 and our CLCPA goals by reducing emissions from the number one energy user and a top CO2 emitter- buildings. Perhaps, more importantly, this will play a pivotal role in realizing a critical aim of the CLCPA by making sure that climate justice and underserved communities are prioritized in the state's clean energy conversion. The inability to bring efficient and affordable clean heating and cooling solutions to climate justice communities are major obstacles for effectively reducing our carbon footprint overall and by supplying NYCHA buildings with heat pump technology this can be curbed. I applaud this all hands on deck collaboration, which saw proposals vetted by NYCHA, NYPA, and NYSERDA and is receiving federal and state funding. This is a true example of climate change and climate justice aligning."
State Senator Jessica Ramos said, "The boilers that heat the homes of my neighbors at Woodside Houses were taken out by Hurricane Ida, leaving them with inconsistent heat throughout the winter. Even predating this, I remember having to bundle up to visit my friends as a child here in Woodside Houses, because their shaky heating infrastructure was not up to the task. Launching Clean Heat for All here is a demonstration that we understand what it looks like to build resilient frontline climate communities. With this project, New York takes another significant step to keep the state on track to meet the goals set forth by the CLCPA."
Assemblymember Michael Cusick said, "Today's announcement is significant step forward in our statewide efforts to decarbonize our buildings and build a cleaner and more efficient energy grid. This investment in heat pumps for NYCHA housing developments will not only assist in our efforts to achieve our energy and climate goals, but it will also ensure clean and reliable energy for thousands of NYCHA residents across our city."
Assemblymember Brian Barnwell said, "For too long the residents of NYCHA, specifically Woodside Houses, have been without any heat. Winter after winter, we made complaint after complaint for this issue to be addressed. Thank you to Governor Hochul for addressing this life or death issue after years of broken promises from others. This investment will help save lives."
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said, "For far too long, the infrastructure of our NYCHA developments have been allowed to crumble, all while the needs of our families in public housing went ignored and overlooked. That's meant years of sweltering summer days and frigid winter nights without any recourse - or respect - for our residents, or any care for the carbon emissions these buildings emanate. But the Clean Heat for All Challenge represents a significant first step in flipping the script for thousands of families. From making NYCHA sites more energy efficient to creating clean energy jobs in our communities to ensuring our families are treated with a basic sense of dignity they deserve as human beings, the Clean Heat for All Challenge is a win for our city. I look forward to working with Governor Hochul and all our partners on this critical initiative."
New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz said, "NYCHA residents have suffered freezing winters and boiling summers for too long. As a model for cleaner, more reliable heating and cooling for homes across the city and hopefully the country, the Clean Heat for All challenge will put public housing residents at the forefront of our decarbonization efforts. This $70 million investment is an incredible step forward in the face of a changing climate that will have an impact on both those living in these homes with the new window units as well as our city as a whole. Thank you to New York Power Authority and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for their partnership in support of NYCHA residents and a greener future."
New York City Chief Climate Officer Rohit T. Aggarwala said, "The partnership between NYCHA and NYPA to develop new green technologies and pathways to implement them across a large portfolio of residential buildings will serve as an example to all property owners as we implement Local Law 97. Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the five boroughs, and it is these types of innovative projects that will help us meet our critical climate goals."
New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric A. Ulrich said, "I applaud Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul for leading by example with this forward-thinking action plan, showing private building owners that through innovation and investment, we can make real progress in reducing the harmful greenhouse gases coming from our buildings."
New York City Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Executive Director Kizzy Charles-Guzman said, "The technology developed through the Clean Heat for All challenge will be transformational for the market and will help clear many of the hurdles buildings face to adopt clean heating and cooling. The cleaner air, improved comfort, and safety that heat pumps provide are vital to the health of our communities, and this partnership will have impacts far beyond the affordable housing market: It will create local green jobs, support New York City's efforts to help homeowners through programs like ElectrifyNYC and continue to demonstrate the City and State's leadership on tackling the climate crisis."
New York City Council Member Julie Won said, "Since August 2021, our neighbors in NYCHA Woodside Houses have been living without heat and hot water. Hurricane Ida flooded the outdated heating plants, and they were never fixed. Access to sustainable, environmentally friendly heat sources are a necessity. We saw firsthand how many of our residents were living without heat in the dead of winter, like those who experienced the fire at the Twin Parks complex in the Bronx. Clean Heat for All is essential to ensuring that our NYCHA residents don't overheat or freeze during outages. Installing 150,000 electric heat pumps in NYCHA complexes across our city is an important step towards a greener New York and I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Adams for prioritizing Woodside Houses during this launch.
Midea America Research Center Residential Air Conditioning R&D Manager Adam Schultz said,"Midea is excited to be leading the development of new technologies that can support more energy efficient and environmentally-friendly options for heating and cooling. Midea has a rich history of developing innovative air conditioning products, including cutting-edge heat pump and inverter technologies. As a result, the product we have developed for the 'Clean Heat for All Challenge' is the next generation of innovation, leveraging our decades of expertise to deliver a cold climate window heat pump at very high efficiency levels. We feel that this product is a great step towards achieving the clean energy goals that the city and state are striving for and the beginning of a strong partnership."
Gradient CEO Vince Romanin said, "With the introduction of Local Law 97, New York City took a major step forward in the urgent fight against climate change. And as the largest public housing authority in North America, NYCHA faced an interesting challenge with LL97: putting heat pumps in buildings that weren't designed for them. As many of our customers have found, installing mini-split heat pumps in older buildings can be expensive and complicated. But the way NYCHA is promoting electrified heating and efficient AC through the Clean Heat for All Challenge is a testament to its commitment to the comfort of its residents and the resilience of its infrastructure. This partnership is a huge validation of Gradient's vision to advance building decarbonization in New York City and beyond."
Fund for Public Housing Executive Director Alex Zablocki said, "The Fund for Public Housing is proud to support this innovative public-private partnership by launching the Clean Energy Academy, preparing public housing residents to work in a 21st century career. With our partners at NYCHA, and support from governmental agencies and the private sector, the Clean Energy Academy will train 100 NYCHA residents within two years readying them for careers in building electrification and clean energy, providing residents with the opportunity to learn new skills and advance a career in this growing sector. The Academy will provide a tailored curriculum to meet the needs of NYCHA's decarbonization goals. This program is only possible with the multi-year philanthropic support and technical expertise of our partners."
Woodside Houses Tenant Association President Annie Cotton-Morris said, "Today, Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams are sending a powerful message on behalf of NYCHA residents: we deserve better. This multimillion-dollar investment puts NYCHA at the cutting-edge of clean energy while finally giving tenants the comfort of a warm home. I thank the Governor and the Mayor for standing up for NYCHA residents and look forward to their partnership as we continue to fix housing in New York."
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State'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 achieve 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 investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to roughly 1 in 16 New Yorkers across over 177,000 apartments within 335 housing developments. NYCHA serves over 339,000 residents through the conventional public housing program (Section 9), over 29,000 residents at developments that have been converted to PACT/RAD, and over 92,000 families through federal rent subsidies (the Section 8 Leased Housing Program). In addition, NYCHA connects residents to opportunities in financial empowerment, business development, career advancement, and educational programs. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.
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 nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.