NYCHA is the biggest landlord in New York City, after all, and is already thinking about the possibility of putting this new technology in many of its more than 177,000 apartments. New York Power Authority says it’s also considering installing heat pumps across other governmental properties it serves. Those kinds of contracts have the power to make heat pumps the new norm by giving the industry incentive to scale and lowering manufacturing costs.
That kind of shift will come with new challenges, of course, and other things will have to change to avoid passing on costs to renters. In New York City, for example, landlords are required to provide heat and often take care of gas bills, while it’s common for tenants to pay for electricity. Without the right policies in place, an electric heat pump could shift heating costs to renters’ tabs. That probably wouldn’t go over well with renters, so policymakers and building managers will need to listen to them, too, if they’re hoping for a smooth and just transition.
“You have to take a kind of a wider approach to how you electrify the building,” says Gradient CEO Vince Romanin. “We saw this coming. I don’t think we saw how fast this was coming.”