New Tech Solutions: HVAC and Heat Pump Water Heaters

CodeWatcher DOE Better Builder program furnace

DOE’s Better Buildings Program announces two new tech solutions papers on energy-efficient HVAC systems and heat pump water heaters.

DOE rolled out a new feature in the Residential Program Solution Center: Technology Solutions. The new Technology Solutions pages include information about two residential energy-efficiency technologies—Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems and heat pump water heaters. These new pages provide easy access to the latest innovations, reports, analysis, and best practices to support program development.


Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Each year in the U.S., three million heating and cooling systems are replaced and $14 billion is spent on HVAC services or repairs. Heating and cooling account for about half of a typical home’s energy usage, making high performance HVAC systems critical to managing energy consumption and costs for individual homeowners as well as cumulatively across the nation (U.S. Department of Energy and ENERGY STAR).

This section will explore advanced HVAC solutions and learn about the latest research and innovations to support high performing equipment and installation practices:

  • High-Efficiency HVAC Equipment
  • High-Performance HVAC Installation
  • Emerging Innovations in HVAC

Click here to go to the DOE resource on HVAC systems.

Related Story: HVAC’s Role in Resilient Housing


Heat Pump Water Heater

Water heating is the second highest energy use in a typical U.S. home, accounting for nearly 17% of residential energy consumption (U.S. Energy Information Administration and Butzbaugh, 2017). Although natural gas-fueled water heaters account for about 48% of the market, and fuel oil, wood, and solar accounting for another 7%, electric water heaters make up about 45% of the market and offer the most opportunity for energy savings in water heating (Butzbaugh, 2017 and Wilson, 2017).

Heat pump water heaters (HPWH) are well-positioned to reduce water heating loads in homes with electric resistance water heaters. HPWHs are ENERGY STAR qualified and use 60-70% less energy than electric resistance water heaters, saving consumers more than $340 annually on average. The savings are estimated to offset the higher costs of the system in three to four years—less than half a HPWH’s lifetime (Butzbaugh, 2017).

HPWHs can also play a role in a utility’s strategy to manage peak energy loads. The use of HPWHs can permanently reduce peak loads for water heating by up to 50%, compared to homes with conventional electric resistance water heaters (Widder, 2013). Controls on both types of electric water heaters can be used to curtail peak loads when needed.

Related Story: These Water Heaters’ Performance Exceeds California’s Strict Emissions Expectations

Click here to go to the DOE resource for heat pump water heaters.