Since 2008, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) has worked to accelerate the adoption of Ductless Heat Pumps (DHPs) to displace electric resistance heating in existing Northwest homes. In 2020, the alliance’s DHP program transitioned to Long-Term Monitoring and Tracking (LTMT). This report is the first LTMT study for the DHP program and is intended to monitor the market for signs of continued diffusion of DHPs into the program’s defined target markets. The objective of the study was to assess the progress of Market Transformation towards DHP adoption by assessing four Diffusion Indicators: 1) the number of DHPs installed in single-family homes to displace/replace electric zonal heat or electric forced air furnaces is increasing; 2) the installed cost for a single-head DHP remains constant or decreases; 3) the share of regional HVAC companies offering DHPs remains constant or is increasing; and 4) the number of counties in the region with HVAC companies that install DHPs remains constant or is increasing.
Using data collected between March and July 2021, the research team found mixed results. However, it is important to note that this study coincided with major disruptions to the supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, some data suggested an increase in the number of DHP installations in single-family homes with electric forced-air furnaces between 2019 and 2020 while the number of zonal installations in single-family homes decreased. Similarly, the average total installed cost (equipment and labor) increased, while the cost of equipment alone decreased slightly. Fewer HVAC companies offered DHPs, yet every county in the region was served by at least one DHP installer. Results from successive LTMT studies will be critical to continue to shape understanding of the market diffusion of DHPs.