The next heat pump frontier? nyc apartment windows

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“There is a huge difference in the amount of heat coming out of our system when a user asks for heat to be comfortable, versus a radiator that releases a lot of excess heat into the room,” says Vince Romanin, CEO of gradient. “If they're able to set that temperature on a per-room basis, not per-building On a base basis, you end up with about 20 percent less energy use – because you're only heating and cooling the rooms needed.

The New York City Housing Authority says residents are happy with the units overall, especially with the ability to control the temperature. In the summer, the heat pump stops working like an air conditioning unit. So people who never had an AC suddenly have a clean, efficient appliance that both heats and cools. “Heat pumps allow NYCHA to move away from natural gas-based steam heating systems and are two to six times more energy efficient than these systems,” says Shan Mawani, chief property and capital management officer for the Housing Authority.

With these heat pumps, New York is reversing the usual pattern for new energy technology, which is typically too expensive for ordinary people to afford. “It's relatively inexpensive, relatively simple technology that's plug-and-play,” says Gernot Wagner, a climate economist at Columbia Business School who works in a 100-year-old public-housing brick building. “it is Rich “Who are believed to be the early adopters of new, sexy, top climate tech.”

Gradiant's all-weather heat pump, which works in cold climates, is set to be priced at $3,800 later this year. This will be offset by a growing number of state and federal rebates and tax credits that incentivize decarbonization. With a full-on heat pump system working through ducting in a fancy person's home, you're potentially looking at the cost of upgrading your electric system to handle the additional power demand, while having a smaller window. The version simply plugs into the wall. Actually installing a heat pump is not much different from installing a normal AC unit, it usually takes about a day, but the technician will need some special training to do it. (In general, the US is extremely short of skilled workers available to install enough heat pumps and other green technologies to decarbonize rapidly.) In contrast, you can install a window-sill heat pump in less than an hour. Can do, says gradient.

One of the hurdles for urban apartment dwellers is the possibility of changes in operating costs: If the landlord was paying for a central steam heating system, and the tenant is now running a heat pump on their own unit's electricity, their bills could increase. Are. About 90 percent of New York City Housing Authority residents live in buildings that are “master metered” anyway, meaning they don't pay individual electric bills. For the remaining 10 percent, NYCHA will likely introduce a utility allowance to ensure that switching to a heat pump does not increase expenses. Additionally, as residents make that switch, the agency will save on costs associated with repairing existing heating distribution systems. “Heat pumps eliminate the need for these investments,” says Mwani.

The plan that NYCHA has launched is one that other metropolises can copy to convert their multifamily buildings into heat pumps. “That said, every city has a different mix of building typologies, local codes, heating and cooling needs, and construction and utility costs,” says Mawani. “Hopefully, based on New York’s experience, other multifamily building owners – whether public or private – will have better data points to help make their decisions.”

Heat pumps will be available cheap from here. Unlike stationary fossil-fuel heating technologies, heat pumps are a technology that is evolving, becoming more and more efficient at extracting heat from outside air and moving it inside. “Heat pumps are an excellent example of a technology that will only get better over time, only becoming cheaper,” says Wagner. “We know where we have to go. We have to electrify buildings; We especially have to avoid gas and oil heat. This is the way to do it.”