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Energy Department Backs Heat Pumps

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Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner , Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Mar 30, 2022

Scrolling through my newsfeed this morning, I came across this article in The Washington Post. As the title of this post suggests, the Department of Energy is promoting regular heat pumps as part of a broader effort to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Here's how the author of the article explains the agency's position: 

"Unlike furnaces, heat pumps don’t generate heat to warm a home. They transfer heat from the outdoors to inside your home. Thus, heat pumps are far more efficient than furnaces, reducing electricity use for heating by 50 percent, according to the Energy Department.

In recent months, home sustainability experts and the federal government have been pushing heat pumps as a way to address climate change and reduce energy consumption. Late last year, Vice President Harris said the government will partner with private companies to “drive innovation in electric heat pumps.”

Heat pumps have the potential to save an average American family about $459 annually when they switch from an electric resistant heating system and about $948 annually when they switch from an oil system, according to the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships."

The article goes on to mention some of the hurdles to promoting heat pump adoption. Namely, heat pumps have a bad reputation for being noisy that can be traced back to their earlier iterations in the 1980's and 90's. 

As so often is the case with residential energy conservation initiatives, a good PR push makes all the difference. Unfortunately it's much harder to reverse a bad reputation than it is to make a good first impression. 

Maggie Mowrer's picture
Maggie Mowrer on Mar 30, 2022

Huge support for heat pumps all over the place recently! Looks like some of the PR right now is around heat pumps as a solution to an impending gas cut off in Russia. Interesting how many outlets are simultaneously covering them, like it's a new technology.

It is disappointing to see the WaPo article continuing the narrative that heat pumps are not suitable for colder climates. That seems to be a holdover from their reputation in the 20th century, as technology has improved for use in colder climates ( and much of the world's population does not live in subarctic temperatures. What will it take for the central narrative to shift?

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 30, 2022

Hopefully changing that perception is one of the positives from the spotlight being shined. There's always inertia in new technology that had major hurdles convincing the public that 'it's better now'-- how accessible solar panels have become to afford, the extended range of EVs compared with first deployment, etc. Starting the conversation is half the battle so hopefully the correction to the outdated perceptions get just as much coverage. 

Henry Craver's picture
Thank Henry for the Post!
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