Cornell housing project is “the largest collection of heat pumps within a single development in the Northeast”

A new grad student housing project at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY is not only heated with air source heat pumps, but will serve as a living laboratory to document the effectiveness of cold climate air source heat pumps in Ithaca’s severe winter.  The National Science Foundation has funded a three-year study of the facility, “to examine how a strained electric grid could handle new, unforeseen energy demand in the winter… For the NSF grant, Zhang’s team will develop software to optimally control clusters of heat pumps.”


More than 90 percent of the natural gas consumed for electricity production and heating in Northeastern states is derived from shale. During shale gas production, fugitive methane emissions escape, making the gas a contributor to global warming.

“We’re trying to displace the fossil fuel by developing efficient controls for renewable-powered heat pumps,” said Kircher.

Cold climate air source heat pumps are an important part of the energy mix for beneficial electrification of our heating and cooling systems.  Not every location or house will be appropriate for geothermal, so knowing more about how to optimize the energy use of air source heat pumps is crucial.

Source: Cornell Chronicle