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BlocPower Talks Healthy Homes, Heat Pumps With VP Harris Ahead of COP26

BlocPower Talks Healthy Homes, Heat Pumps With VP Harris Ahead of COP26

Jamaica, NY-November 1st, 2021—This afternoon Vice President Kamala Harris and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm met with BlocPower co-founders Keith Kinch and Donnel Baird, who showcased how BlocPower is already putting President Biden’s Build Back Better climate framework in action.

"Every American family deserves a home that is healthy and happy and safe,” said Baird. “But when we burn fossil fuels in our homes, we are making our families and our planet sick. BlocPower has a plan to upgrade all 125MM American homes to make them healthy, smart and green—while saving us all money."

BlocPower’s Baird and Kinch have been greening urban buildings in 26 cities, using all electric heating and cooling systems, solar installations and other energy-saving technologies to complete more than 1,200 retrofits. There are approximately 5 million “unhealthy,” fossil fuel-burning buildings and 125M homes in the US that contribute 29% of US greenhouse gas emissions.

Heat Pumps Key to Tackling Climate Goals

President Biden’s Build Back Better plan (also known as the budget reconciliation package) includes a $555 billion investment to fight the climate crisis, including $9 billion to accelerate home electrification and the adoption of modern, electric heating and cooling systems that utilize heat pump technology. 

“Cold climate heat pumps are a win-win for American families to comfortably heat their homes and businesses while significantly cutting down carbon pollution and lowering their energy costs,” Secretary Granholm said in a prepared statement. Granholm joined Vice President Harris along with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Gregory Meeks, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“It's a one-two punch,” the vice president’s climate advisor, Ike Irby, told NBC News. “[The President is] abroad advocating for climate leadership internationally. The vice president is here in the United States underscoring how Build Back Better, the bipartisan infrastructure deal will create jobs here at home, address the climate crisis here at home.”

A Climate Technology Jobs Revolution is on the Horizon

The administration’s investment in beneficial electrification will generate hundreds of thousands of green jobs in construction, engineering and climate technology—and BlocPower is already at work to deliver those jobs to frontline environmental justice communities. 

Central to BlocPower’s work to electrify American building stock is its Civilian Climate Corps project, which kicked off in New York City in September. The partnership with the Mayor’s Office will prepare 1,000 individuals from high-gun violence neighborhoods for a career in climate technology. BlocPower Civilian Climate Corps member Joshua Krupa joined Baird and Kinch to share his experience. 

From left: Keith Kinch, Joshua Krupa & Donnel Baird aboard an all electric New York Department of Sanitation vehicle

Speaking to stakeholders at a potential project site in Queens, NY in October, Baird outlined the path ahead. “The clean energy revolution isn’t coming from California—it’s coming from Queens, NY, where children have asthma. The White House is tracking [our] project to see if we get it right. If we get this right, it becomes a blueprint to roll out in the rest of New York and nationally.”

Baird will also be a keynote speaker at Web Summit (Nov. 3) and speaking on two panels (Nov. 4) before attending COP26. 

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