New Technologies Drive New Opportunities for the Region

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Variable Speed Heat Pumps (VSHPs) are distinct from single-speed or even multi-stage heat pumps because they can ramp up or down to exactly meet heating and cooling demand. As a result, they use less significantly energy than traditional heat pumps. In fact, NEEA estimates that the adoption of VSHPs in electrically heated homes could save the region over 50 aMW over the next 20 years – enough electricity to power approximately 40,000 Northwest homes each year.

In February, VSHPs became the newest program in the alliance’s portfolio of Market Transformation initiatives with the support of the Regional Portfolio Advisory Committee (RPAC). Initially, the program will focus on replacement of electric forced air furnaces and air source heat pumps, which account for roughly one in five homes in the Northwest.

NEEA’s research has identified two key barriers to broad market adoption of VSHPs: 1) lack of differentiation between more and less efficient heat pumps making it hard for customers to make informed purchasing decisions; and 2) sub-optimal system design, installation and maintenance. The VSHP program will focus on overcoming these barriers by establishing an improved rating system and increasing market adoption of smart technologies to improve installed efficiency, such as auto-commissioning and remote diagnostics.

Learn more about the alliance’s concept for the new VSHP program in the latest RPAC packet.