New York City is leading the charge to advance building decarbonization and improve occupants’ comfort with a unique public-private initiative called the “Clean Heat for All Challenge” spearheaded by New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), New York Power Authority (NYPA) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). By leveraging NYCHA's portfolio of 2,198 residential buildings, “Clean Heat for All” is designed to spur innovation and growth of new technologies and support 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 significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by the year 2030. Midea – a manufacturer of hyper-efficient electric heat pumps – was designated as a primary partner to develop and deliver innovative electrification solutions that can better serve the heating and cooling needs of existing multifamily buildings and help expedite the transition away from fossil fuels.
"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. "The support of the Governor and Mayor has been instrumental in bringing this innovative public-private partnership to the Authority and helping us move towards a low-carbon future, by bringing the promising technology of beneficial electrification to the largest public housing authority in the United States."
Under New York City Local Law 97, which is part of the New York City Climate Mobilization Act, NYCHA must cut greenhouse gas emissions from its over 300 housing developments with 177,000 apartments by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, and three-quarters of its emissions come from old heat systems that run on natural gas. Knowing how critical it is to reduce carbon emissions, the state found an equitable and transformative way to implement new innovations with the scale and speed to achieve its ambitious carbon-reduction goal.
“The collaboration and commitment by these New York government agencies is inspiring, and we’re honored to be a primary provider of this important technology that will improve indoor air quality and expedite the electrification of heating,” said Kurt Jovais, president Midea America. “Yet New York City is just a start. Building infrastructure comes with a significant environmental toll, and Midea’s cold climate packaged window heat pump and EVOX heat pump systems can change that narrative. This partnership reinforces our leadership role in accelerating the development and deployment of next generation hyper-efficient electric heat pumps that will help cities and states meet their electrification goals.”
The seven-year contract for Midea calls for the development and delivery of 20,000 cold climate packaged window heat pump units – devices that support the city’s move away from natural gas and towards more efficient energy sources. The window heat pump units which Midea is developing for NYCHA will enable rapid, low-cost electrification heating in multifamily buildings by reducing or eliminating many of the cost drivers inherent to installing existing heat pump technologies in apartments, including electrical system upgrades, lengthy refrigerant piping, and through-wall drilling and penetrations. Over the next year, NYPA will work with Midea to develop the proposed heat pump technology for testing and demonstration. NYPA will then collaborate with NYCHA to install pilot units in designated public housing before moving forward with the widespread installation throughout the following years.
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 combustion of fossil fuels to produce heat.
"Midea is excited to be leading the development of innovative technologies that can support more energy efficient 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 creating innovative air conditioning products, including cutting-edge heat pump and inverter technologies. The product we have developed for the ‘Clean Heat for All Challenge’ is the next generation of innovation, leveraging our decades of expertise. We feel that this product is a great step towards achieving the clean energy goals for New York City and will create a lot of interest across the country.”
Midea is at the forefront of accelerating the development and deployment of electric heat pumps that perform efficiently in extreme cold to help cities and states achieve their electrifications goals today. The company will be collaborating with numerous government agencies including the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its “Cold Climate Heat Pump Challenge” initiative launched in 2021 to make this technology an attainable reality, and already has highly efficient cold climate heat pumps available in the U.S.