U.S. DOE Announces Support for National Program on Advanced Water Heating to Cut Carbon Emissions and Energy Use | State

PORTLAND, Ore., May 18, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is supporting a new nationwide campaign to drastically reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption from heating water with advanced heat pump technology. The Advanced Water Heating Initiative (AWHI) will work nationally to improve the manufacture, sale, installation and operation of heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) The United States. HPWHs are breakthrough products that are two to four times more efficient than traditional options.

Heat pumps typically last 12-14 years, which means that by 2035, all of the water heaters currently in use will likely need to be replaced. By choosing cleaner, more energy efficient HPWH, US households would save nearly 100 million tons of CO2 emissions and enough energy to power 25 million households a year. The AWHI is a collaboration of construction companies including utilities, state and local authorities, efficiency programs, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, installers and construction industry professionals who align on guidelines, drive demand and train the supply chain.

“We want to phase out inefficient water heating products and replace them with clean, efficient heat pump models over the next 10 years,” he said Smita Gupta, Director of Building Innovation at the New Buildings Institute (NBI).

The transition to HPWHs means training opportunities and job creation for installers and workers along the supply chain. This transition is already taking place on the west coast, where a regional version of the AWHI effort has existed since 2019 when it was launched by the NBI and the Building Decarbonization Coalition.

HPWHs use electricity to move heat from one place to another and work the other way around like a refrigerator. An additional benefit of HPWHs is that they provide network connectivity for responding to demand. This means the devices can communicate with the power grid to control energy usage and shift the times they use energy to periods during the day (and the carbon intensity of the grid) is deeper. The advantages of heat pump water heaters can be made available to all households regardless of the zip code.

There are many benefits to heat pump water heater technology, but there are barriers to widespread adoption that AWHI is working to overcome. While the technology is cheaper to install in new all-electric construction projects, existing buildings can be more expensive. And, as with the commercialization of all technologies, consumer awareness of the benefits of these products, the lack of experience of installers, and the patchwork of uncoordinated programs and policies across the country are lower. Removing these barriers requires the efforts of the AWHI at the national level.

“With the number of forest fires and severe storms increasing every year, we cannot afford to wait. AWHI is reaching a critical point in our climate change and economic recovery challenges,” he said Andrew McAllister, California Energy Commissioner. “Not only can we help decarbonize buildings with heat pump water heaters, we can help develop a US workforce to manufacture and install these products, and create high-paying jobs to do that.”

About the Advanced Water Heating Initiative

The Advanced Water Heating Initiative (AWHI) is working to transform the water heater market by installing clean, energy efficient heat pump water heaters in all buildings The United States. Through these efforts, AWHI aims to help state and local governments meet decarbonization goals, create well-paid jobs, and invest in underserved communities. More information is available at: www.advancedwaterheatinginitiative.org

Stacey Hobart, Communications Director, NBI

SOURCE New Buildings Institute (NBI)

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