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Heat Pump Water Heaters

Driving the market through new specs

Fifty-five percent of Northwest homes have electric water heaters. By influencing and increasing availability of high-efficiency heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) specifically designed for the Northern climate, the region could save nearly 289 aMW by 2035, the equivalent to powering almost 211,000 homes each year.

Heat Pump Water Heater products continue to improve, and save more and more energy - see this recent video for more info:

In 2016, NEEA and its partners updated the Advanced Water Heater Specification, which provides added energy efficiency guidance to manufacturers developing HPWHs. The Advanced Water Heater Specification’s applicability and benefits extend well beyond the Northwest. The updated specification also enhances the end goal of NEEA's HPWH program - to influence the passage of a 2025 federal standard requiring HPWHs for all electric storage tanks greater than 45 gallons in size. Learn more here.

And, for more resources like this video, visit Hot Water Solutions. This site promotes the education, development and adoption of heat pump water heater technology that is best suited to meet the needs of homeowners in the Northwest.

  • Interaction between Heat Pump Water Heaters and Heating System
    Water heating represents approximately 18 percent of residential energy consumption annually. Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) offer an efficient option for residential water heating, because they have the ability to reduce water heating energy consumption by up to 63 percent. To achieve such high efficiencies, HPWHs employ a refrigeration cycle to move heat from the ambient air into water stored in a tank. When HPWHs are in conditioned space, they remove heat from the conditioned air. This study conducted during the winter of 2016 - 2017 provides an objective evaluation of the space conditioning interactions between a HPWH and the heating system in several locations throughout a home to investigate the impact that HPWHs have on space conditioning loads. We have always known there was an interactive effect with home heating systems. This study provides a detailed look at how much and the findings show that there is less interaction effect than we originally thought.
    PDF, 1.53 MB
  • Northwest Heat Pump Water Heater Initiative Market Progress Evaluation Report #2
    The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) contracted with Evergreen Economics to conduct the second market progress evaluation for its Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) initiative. Key research tasks included telephone surveys with the general population of homeowners, as well as those that purchased a heat pump water heater in 2015, and interviews with market actors and utility program managers. As presented in this second Market Progress Evaluation Report, there has been a significant increase in sales of HPWHs meeting the second performance Tier. NEEA offered upstream incentives to manufacturers on 4,392 Tier 2/Tier 3 HPWHs, combined with utility rebates on nearly 1,000 Tier 2/Tier 3 units. Consistent with the first market progress evaluation findings, planned purchases still dominate the HPWH market, but satisfaction remains very high at nearly 100 percent of those surveyed. Lower energy bills are a primary reason for consumer satisfaction. The report also conveys interesting findings about the impacts to the market for large tank water heaters as a result of the 2015 National Appliance Energy Conservation Act.
    PDF, 2.75 MB
  • Northwest Heat Pump Water Heater Initiative Market Progress Evaluation Report #1
    The first Market Progress Evaluation Report of the Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) Initiative concludes that over 4,000 tier 1 units sold in the region through a manufacturer markdown in the first year and a half;most of these purchases were not the result of an emergency;over half (54 percent) of HPWH purchasers interviewed for this study replaced an existing water heater because it was getting old and was reaching the end of its useful life; manufacturers are engaged and eager to meet higher Northern Climate Specification tiers; and market actors agree that the update to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act federal standard for large tank electric water heaters is likely to have an impact on sales in the near- and long-term, though in their view, consumer awareness of HPWHs in general is presently low.
    PDF, 3.89 MB

Related Specifications

Advanced Water Heater Specification 

This specification provides guidance to manufacturers who are interested in developing products that not only meet ENERGY STAR criteria but are able to provide high levels of consumer satisfaction and energy performance in cooler, northern climates.

View the current specification

Get more information

Resource Spotlight

Market Growth of HPWHs

HPWH infographic

This infographic highlights the key findings of our evaluation of how the market for HPWHs is growing, and who is buying (or most likely to buy) them.

See the infographic

NEEA Team Lead

Jill Reynolds

Initiative Manager