“The answer is, yes, across all U.S. states, on average, heat pumps will reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Eric Wilson, a senior research engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and lead author of the new paper. “Even if it’s a relatively low-efficiency heat pump that relies on electric resistance heating in the coldest hours, and even if it’s a very pessimistic grid scenario with wind and solar prices at their current pace There are more.”

Since the heat pump can be reversed to provide cooling, it is also possible to get more appliances in the homes. Improve overall health in summer, study notes. That means with a heat pump, a home that never had AC now has a way to ensure a comfortable indoor temperature. This will be all the more important as outdoor temperatures continue to rise, especially in cities, where the built environment Absorbs the sun’s energy and slowly releases it.. The tricky part is that while a heat pump can be more efficient at cooling than a traditional AC unit, its operating costs in the summer can surprise a household that has never had AC before.

It is important to note that a household will get the most out of a heat pump if it also opts for better insulation. For example, if you have double-paned windows, less indoor heating or cooling will be saved in winter or summer. This type of insulation comes with its own upfront cost, sure, but can reduce the initial cost of a heat pump by thousands of dollars, new research shows: If your home is nice and tight, You’ll need a smaller, less expensive one. device to provide adequate heat. “I worry a little bit about people who put heat pumps in very poorly insulated homes, and just aren’t comfortable,” says Wilson. (To this end, the Inflation Reduction Act provides 30 percent away from the cost of insulation. Legislation too Offers thousands (Money to upgrade your home’s electrical system, which may require fitting a new heat pump.)

The study also found that 39 percent of households could see their energy bills rise if the lowest-efficiency heat pumps were installed, but that would drop to 19 percent if they also re-insulated. (This is based on state average energy prices for the winter of 2021-2022.) When using high-efficiency heat pumps, only 5 percent of households could see an increase in their energy bills. The initial cost of that insulation or high-efficiency heat pumps can be offset by financial incentives, the study says, such as those provided by IRAs.

This modeling is not predicting the future, but rather calculating scenarios for how the adoption of heat pumps in the US might unfold. In the coming years, the heat pump industry may well surprise—the good kind—especially as the U.S. invests hundreds of millions of dollars in domestic production. “What are the performance improvements, the amazing innovations, the leaps and bounds that can only be achieved when you actually start deploying them at scale?” asks Columbia Business School climate economist Gernot Wagner, who was not involved in the paper.