The Department of Energy (DOE) is promoting advances in heat pump technology because of the potential to cut carbon emissions through increased adoption. To that end, the DOE announced $250 million in federal funding opportunity to incentivize the domestic heat pump manufacturing in the U.S.
“Electric heat pumps offer a cheaper, more reliable option for heating and cooling that isn’t prone to dramatic price swings and helps to strengthen the nation’s energy independence,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
The DOE launched the residential Cold-Climate Heat Pump Technology Challenge to stimulate domestic development of cold-climate heat pumps (CCHP), which can help reduce energy costs and move the United State further along the path to achieving the nation’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The Challenge has two categories: CCHPs that are efficient at 5 F and below; CCHPs optimized for -15 F. Several manufacturers heeded the call to advance their technology, with many of the CCHPs now on the market.
Midea, a manufacturer of appliance and HVAC equipment, enlisted Atomik Research to survey homeowners and contractors about their awareness of heat pumps technology. The results show a lack of awareness about the potential of heat pumps among homeowners as well as contractors.
While most of the homeowners (80%) surveyed say they know what a heat pump is, just over half are unsure of what they do, particularly the ability to provide both heating and cooling. There is also a misconception about the ability of heat pumps to work in the cold, with just 4% of homeowners saying that they know that heat pumps can work in temperatures as low as -4 degrees F.
Nearly half of homeowners and a full 70% of contractors indicate that the main reason they would be hesitant to switch to a heat pump is because they don’t know enough about it. Once the contractors learned more about heat pumps, however, 87% of them said they’d consider switching to this technology for their own homes.
The survey also asked about federal tax credits, with 53% of the homeowners saying they weren’t aware that installing an advanced heat pump system would qualify them for credits. Two-thirds of homeowner respondents said that they are more likely to consider a heat pump now that they know about federal and regional tax incentives.
“As the next generation of ultra-efficient heat pumps become widely available next year, it’s crucial that consumers understand the performance, benefits and incentives available to them,” said David Rames, senior product manager, Midea America.
Atomik Research conducted the study, which surveyed 1,002 contractors throughout the United States. The sample of contractors consists of an even split between general contractors, home builders, home or property restorers and HVAC specialists. The research group conducted another survey of 2,004 homeowners in a sample that is statistically representative of the U.S. population based on the national census data regarding gender, age, and geographical regions.
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