NEEA contracted with Lieberman Research to conduct a market research study to gather HVAC system buyer and HVAC contractor perceptions about four emerging HVAC technologies. The four technologies are: residential dual fuel heat pumps (gas furnaces paired with electric heat pumps), residential gas heat pumps, commercial gas heat pumps for space and/or water heating, and commercial dual fuel rooftop units (RTUs). Between December 2022 and February 2023, the Lieberman Research team interviewed consumers, commercial building decision makers, and HVAC contractors to gather opinions about the systems before and after providing basic information about their features and possible benefits.
Findings show that most interviewed consumers have a strong preference for HVAC systems that offer both cooling and heating and find reducing their carbon footprint highly desirable. Additionally, consumers equate energy efficiency with fuel cost savings. Commercial building decision makers are most interested in improving the return on investment they get from their HVAC systems, such as by having reliable equipment performance and improving occupant comfort and productivity. Both commercial building decision makers and HVAC contractors are interested in HVAC systems that will meet decarbonization mandates in codes.
Findings from the study will complement ongoing NEEA product research to assess the performance and readiness of these products for Northwest markets. Finally, the study will help NEEA determine which, if any, of these technologies to further investigate.