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Heat pumps are the future for hot water

Sustainability policies will drive trend.

September 16, 2020 |

Courtesy Pixabay

State and local policies nationwide that strive to eliminate fossil fuels in newly constructed buildings will spur widespread adoption of heat pumps for water heating.

Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) have been sold in the U.S. for over 40 years, but have struggled to penetrate the market. This has left the construction industry with few case studies, best practices, and expert practitioners.

But as technology continues to improve, gas rates increase, and renewable grid penetration boosts the sustainability of electrification, HPWHs appear poised to take a significant uptick in market growth. Over 30 municipalities in California and Massachusetts have already passed policies prohibiting or strongly disincentivizing gas water heaters in new buildings.

Municipalities without the authority or funding to pursue these measures could adjust building permit processes to incentivize HPWH design options. These methods could include expedited processes, and height or density bonuses for eligible buildings.

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