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Some things to think about...

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
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  • Apr 4, 2022
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1) It took interviewing more than 20 HVAC contractors to find one that was willing to talk about high COP heat pumps a year ago when I put my new system in.

2) I put in a tankless hot water system, with the unlimited hot water, my boys spend more time in the shower and take more baths - increasing the water and energy use.

3) Standard heat pumps seem to be what people will pay for with a COP of 2 to 2.5, anything more the contractors advise will not provide a return on investment. This advice is an issue with getting energy efficiency.

4) People in the lower 3 deciles tend to only buy what they need, the annual energy cost is less important than the initial cost of the item. After all costs in the future are not what they are worried about.

5) Schools don't teach how to figure out the energy costs and operating costs vs. the initial costs. In fact in most K-12 schools (at least in the US) economics is taught with handwavium, not actual facts. I was appalled at what my boys were taught and not taught.

6) Until we teach people how to think about energy and economics, we will never achieve zero-GHG. We need to start with educating teachers and text book writers.

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Jenny Corry Smith's picture
Jenny Corry Smith on Apr 18, 2022

Hi Don. I agree – a wide-reaching stakeholder approach is required to achieve energy efficiency, including targeted federal incentives for residential heat pumps. This study shows that American households can save more than USD $27 billion on energy bills when manufacturers receive incentives to change over production and has other benefits such as lowering greenhouse gas. 

Despite their benefits, heat pumps are unlikely to reach all American homes, as 85% of HVAC system replacements are done on an emergency basis. When their AC fails, homeowners often go for another one-way AC as the most accessible and upfront low-cost option. Teaching consumers about the economics of energy is part of it, but focusing on the source and availability of efficient appliances will help convert many more households.

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