Governor Cuomo Announces $15 Million Available for Piloting Community Thermal Systems to Reduce Buildings’ Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New York (STL.News) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that up to $15 million is available through a new program to pilot the use of community thermal systems to reduce buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions.  The new Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot Program will accept proposals to study, design and construct community thermal systems using heat pump technology, as well as produce a best practices guidebook.  Community thermal ties together multiple buildings located in close proximity through shared heat pump piping and infrastructure.  The heating and cooling of buildings is responsible for approximately 33 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and energy demand is growing every year.  The program supports Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 as mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“New York is confronting climate change head-on by using innovative new technologies to build cleaner and greener communities,” Governor Cuomo said.  “Building heating systems are a significant source of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions, and this pilot program will allow us to explore the use of community thermal technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier, cleaner and greener New York for all.”

The program can help building owners reduce the upfront capital costs of converting to a heat pump, such as drilling, construction and installation, and optimize building performance.  Medical campuses, college and universities, city main streets, business districts, new construction developments and other organizations could potentially participate in this type of energy system.

The Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot program will select proposals on a competitive basis for ground-source, air-source, water-source or multi-source community thermal systems.  Teams consisting of building owners and consultants or developers are eligible to submit a proposal to one of four categories that aligns with their current stage of project development: scoping study, detailed design study, construction and a best practices guidebook.  Once applicants complete the deliverables in their initial category, they become eligible to submit a proposal to fund the next stage of development.  Any team may apply for funding to develop a best practices guidebook regardless of whether they are involved in a project in any of the other three categories.  Applicants are eligible to receive funding for all four categories, and a scoring committee will evaluate the proposals and award extra points for projects in disadvantaged communities.

The categories for which proposals will be accepted are as follows:

Category A: Scoping Study

Up to $100,000 per project is available to conduct a feasibility study to determine if a community thermal system would be the most practical and cost-effective method for heating and cooling a group of buildings or new construction development.

Category B: Detailed Design Study

Up to $500,000 per project is available to perform a detailed study evaluating issues, such as the financial and legal responsibilities of those building owners who wish to join the community thermal system, with the goal of bringing the project design to a shovel-ready status.

Category C: Construction

Up to $4 million per project is available for the construction of a shovel-ready community thermal system.

Category D: Best Practices Guidebook

Up to $250,000 per project is available to produce a best practices guidebook in order to streamline the pursuit of future community thermal systems and address logistical challenges faced during design and/or construction.