Window Heat Pump Units Installed in Public Housing as Part of Clean Heat Challenge
30,000 Units to Be Installed to Better Serve Heating and Cooling Needs
September 20, 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the state is moving forward with its Clean Heat for All Challenge (#CleanHeat4All or #CH4A), a partnership between the New York Power Authority (NYPA), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) 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-fuel free heating sources. By this winter, 72 cold climate packaged window heat pump units will be installed at NYCHA apartments to provide heating and cooling while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at New York City public housing. The units will be comprehensively monitored and assessed over the course of the upcoming winter season to incorporate learnings before moving forward with the widespread installation of 30,000 units over the following years.
“By investing in the development and installation of energy efficient heat pumps at NYCHA facilities, New York State is fulfilling its promise to ensure all New Yorkers have access to affordable and comfortable housing,” Governor Hochul said. “The Clean Heat for All Challenge directly addresses the decarbonization of buildings—New York’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions—with a thoughtful approach and use of innovative technology that focuses on the safety, comfort and livability of NYCHA residences.”
New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “The innovative heat pump units being installed at public housing in New York City this fall are only the start of the Power Authority’s commitment to deliver energy efficient heating and cooling systems for NYCHA residents. This first phase of unit installations will provide us with the insight we need to honor the initial investment of producing and installing all 30,000 units, benefitting residents with reliable heating and cooling, and shrinking New York City’s carbon footprint.”
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New York’s Clean Heat for All Challenge has created a safer, healthier, and more energy-efficient way to heat and cool multifamily buildings and reflects Governor Hochul’s ongoing commitment to achieving 2 million climate-friendly homes across the state by 2030. NYSERDA is proud to partner with NYPA and NYCHA on advancing window heat pump technology as a cost-effective way to reduce onsite emissions in buildings and ensure that New York's most vulnerable citizens can live comfortably in their home – regardless of season.”
New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer said, “Clean Heat for All is about improving lives. The ingenuity and innovation of these heating pumps will deliver immediate quality of life benefits to NYCHA residents upon installation, but moreover, will bring New York City closer and closer to our carbon reduction goals, which will ultimately improve the lives of generations to come.”
NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt said, “NYCHA is thrilled to facilitate the installation of 72 electrified heat pumps at Woodside Houses with the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through Clean Heat for All. The installation of these pumps not only provides residents with convenient, reliable heating and cooling units, but will also inform the program's expansion to 30,000 units at NYCHA developments across New York City, bringing the Authority and the City that much closer to our decarbonization goals.”
Under the Clean Heat for All program, NYCHA will purchase and install the new equipment as well as provide additional improvements to building envelopes and domestic hot water systems. NYPA is providing upfront financing and supporting the implementation of the challenge, including $70 million in financing approved by the NYPA Board of Trustees in 2022 to fund the development of cold climate packaged window heat pump units. NYSERDA is providing $13 million for the demonstration phase, including procurement specification development, initial purchasing, and monitoring and performance assessment with funds approved through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Operating Plan.
Heat pump technology provides efficient cooling and heating 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. Existing conventional heat pump systems 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.
The packaged window 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. The heat pump manufacturers—Midea America and Gradient—will each supply 36 units this fall for comprehensive monitoring over the course of the upcoming winter season. NYCHA began installing Midea’s America’s units in July and will begin installing Gradient’s units in December.
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 Heat 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 buildings, 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 five to ten years 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.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35%, with a goal of 40%, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.
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, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.
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