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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.

  • 2016 Evaluation Findings for the Heat Pump Water Heater Initiative
    Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) presents the findings of the Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) initiative’s third market progress evaluation. Key objectives of the research were to characterize the market effects of the 2015 National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) for heat pump water heater tanks greater than 55-gallons and to improve understanding of the installer market. Mystery shopping calls to a random sample of installers and retailers revealed that neither group is likely to recommend HPWHs to customers, and that retail salespeople do not understand the technology well. The study also found that the NAECA standard has underperformed and has generated multiple workaround solutions. Installers and retailers most commonly recommend downsizing to a 50-gallon standard electric water heater to avoid the installation of a HPWH. The findings suggest that installers need more training and education on the consumer benefits of HPWHs, and that high first cost and prior negative experiences with the technology are still barriers.
    PDF, 2.30 MB
  • 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

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