NEEA, utilities: Heat pump technology brings warm water at lower costs
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
NEEA and its partners found that heat pump water heating technology can save as much as 50 percent of a homeowner's energy costs.
A regional energy advocate reports that heat pump water heaters can save homeowners about 50 percent, on energy costs, over standard water heaters.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, which collaborated with utilities and other energy efficiency champions on the strategy, said the pump technology could save enough energy to power all the homes in Seattle and Boise each year. NEEA based its findings on a program that tracked product testing, consumer marketing and contractor training.
Water heating comprises 15 percent to 20 percent of electric energy use in homes with electric water heating. Yet there have scarcely been any innovations in the category in the last three decades.
The 50 percent in energy costs savings is doable even though the same amount of hot water is delivered, according to the group.
Heat pump water heater technology uses fans and an evaporator to pull warmth from the surrounding air and transfer it to water in the storage tank.
“The work we accomplished in collaboration with our utility, manufacturer and retail partners in 2012 and 2013 sets the stage for new innovations, new features and improved product designs that will help transform the market,” said Jill Reynolds, NEEA’s heat pump water heater initiative manager. “We see huge potential regional energy savings from this technology.”
NEEA and its utility partners have embarked on a large-scale marketing campaign across the Northwest. Currently, 55 percent of the region's homes have electric water heaters.
The strategy could save nearly 500 average megawatts by 2025, or the same amount of power it takes to provide energy to each home in Seattle and Boise combined each year.
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