Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams 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).
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That is 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.
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.
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. ■