Clean Thermal District Systems

A strategic network of heat distribution pipes serving multiple buildings

The thermal needs within buildings, such as comfort heating of occupied spaces and production of domestic hot water, are challenges to decarbonize, but are crucial to address in order to meet New York State’s nation-leading climate goals.

Energy-efficient heat pump technology, powered by renewable electricity (either generated on site, or purchased from the power grid), provides a viable option.

Heat pumps are frequently installed to serve the needs of a single building. To leverage economy-of-scale and to expand clean energy options for customers who have insufficient footprint space to serve their own needs, heat pumps can be integrated with a network of distribution pipes to serve multiple buildings in a configuration referred to as District Thermal.

District Thermal systems can address the needs of new construction projects as well as retrofits of existing buildings, and can be applicable to single-owner campuses such as:

  • colleges/universities
  • medical campuses
  • residential complexes
  • or even multi-owner nodes (such as downtown corridors).

NYSERDA has been authorized to administer a $15 million program [PDF]Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to support development and demonstration of low-carbon Clean Thermal District Systems installations.

This program drives exploration of business models that can cost-effectively grow this market to scale through support for:

  • Scoping
  • Design
  • Construction

NYSERDA intends to issue a competitive solicitation for this program in the latter half of 2020, and will conduct stakeholder engagements to gather market insights to help inform development of the solicitation. If you would like to provide insights, please contact district.thermal@nyserda.ny.gov

A list of solution providers who have self-identified as being active in the heat pump district thermal marketplace, and references to some of their projects, is available: