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Mayor Adams, Governor Hochul Announce $70 Million Initial Investment to Decarbonize NYCHA Buildings as Part of Clean Heat for All Challenge

August 2, 2022

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Midea America and Gradient Selected by NYPA to Develop New Heat Pump Technology and Produce 30,000 Initial Units

Advanced Heating and Cooling Solutions Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Resident Comfort

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), New York Power Authority (NYPA), and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) are moving forward with the Clean Heat for All Challenge 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.

"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," said Mayor Adams. "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."

"New York is tackling the climate crisis and the need for affordable housing head on, and the funding announced today will go a long way in addressing both," said Governor Hochul. "Prioritizing green investments in public housing ensures the state's bold climate agenda is equitable, benefiting all New Yorkers now and in the future. NYCHA residents deserve high-quality homes, and we're working to make that happen."

The Clean Heat for All Challenge reflects the goals of Mayor Adams' "Housing Our Neighbors" blueprint for getting New Yorkers into safe, high-quality, affordable homes. The first city housing plan to cover the entire spectrum of New Yorkers' housing needs and options, the blueprint outlines a plan to transform NYCHA by both delivering much-needed resources for repairs and streamlining the services NYCHA provides residents and the processes by which they do so.

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.

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 supportive-housing 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 apartment vacancies will continue to be filled using the NYCHA waiting list.

"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," said New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. "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."

"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," said New York City Chief Climate Officer Rohit T. Aggarwala. "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."

"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," said Kizzy Charles-Guzman, executive director, New York City Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice. "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."

"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," said NYCHA Chair and CEO Greg Russ. "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."

"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," said New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric A. Ulrich.

"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," said Justin E. Driscoll, interim president and CEO, NYPA. "The decarbonization of buildings — the state's largest carbon emissions source — is critical to achieving the governor's ambitious climate change goals."

"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," said Doreen Harris, president and CEO, NYSERDA. "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 2 million climate-friendly homes by 2030 while ensuring that all New Yorkers benefit from clean energy investments."

"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 (CLCPA)," said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. "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."

"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," said New York State Senator Kevin Parker. "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."

"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," said New York State Senator Jessica Ramos. "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."

"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," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "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."

"For too long the residents of NYCHA, specifically Woodside Houses, have been without any heat," said New York State Assemblymember Brian Barnwell. "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."

"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," said New York City Councilmember Julie Won. "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 is excited to be leading the development of new technologies that can support more energy efficient and environmentally friendly options for heating and cooling," said Adam Schultz, research and development manager, Midea America Research Center Residential Air Conditioning. "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."

"With the introduction of Local Law 97, New York City took a major step forward in the urgent fight against climate change," said Vince Romanin, CEO, Gradient. "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."

"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," said Alex Zablocki, executive director, Fund for Public Housing. "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."

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