Ask the Expert: What Good Are Heat Pumps?

Mark D’Antonio, Zondits staff, 12/20/2022

Zondits spoke with Mark D’Antonio, Senior Principal Consultant at DNV, who is part of a team that is developing efficient clean technology approaches to decarbonizing the built environment.

I live in a multifamily complex and the comfort level is not very good in the winter. I have heard that there are heat pumps that might be available soon that will go in my window (like a window air conditioning unit does) and give me both heating and cooling. What can you tell me about this type of heat pump?

There are several manufacturers that are developing a new style of Cold Climate Window Heat Pump (CCWHP) that will provide heating and cooling in a “saddle” style unit that sits over the windowsill. This type of unit, installed with a specifically designed mounting bracket, will keep the window operable and will not block the view. Unlike conventional window units though, these are split systems that have an indoor unit and outdoor unit that connect together to form the entire system. The previously noted bracket holds both units and facilitates easy installation from inside the room. A decorative panel fits between the two for an integral look. Like AC window units, these units will only require a 120V outlet for power. The manufacturers indicate that initial units will be available in 2023 and retail cost will purportedly be in the $1,600-2,000 range, with expectations that costs will drop over time. Fundamentally, these CCWHPs are an emerging technology soon to hit the market that will reduce the barriers of getting unitary heat pumps into residential and multifamily settings.

The driving force for the development of this technology has been New York State’s “Clean Heat for All” program which put forth a challenge to the manufacturing community to develop a CCWHP for multifamily housing that meets specific performance and functional requirements. The program has committed an initial $70 Million for the development and production of 30,000 units from two suppliers: Gradient and Midea America. More information on the technology and New York’s efforts can be found in the links below.