DoE Study Finds New Way To Slash Energy Use in U.S. Homes

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy, argue that heat pumps could benefit millions of households in the United States. However, in order to make them a more appealing option, the cost of installing this technology must decrease.

According to Oil Price, improving the weatherization of a home, such as by installing better insulation, would increase the range to 82% to 97%. However, due to high installation costs, heat pumps may only be financially feasible for a smaller portion of households.

Eric Wilson, a senior research engineer in the Buildings Technologies and Science Center at NREL and lead author of the paper ‘Heat pumps for all? Distributions of costs and benefits of residential air-source heat pumps in the United States’ explained, “There are millions of people who would benefit from putting in heat pumps, and there are incentives made available through the Inflation Reduction Act, both tax credits and rebates, that millions of households can benefit from. But what this paper shows is that there are still millions more households for whom the technology is still pretty expensive, and we need work to bring down the cost of installing heat pumps.”

His co-authors are Prateek Munankarmi, Janet Reyna, and Stacey Rothgeb, all from NREL; and Brennan Less from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Because heat pumps provide both heating and air conditioning, homeowners who do not already have air conditioning benefit from additional comfort, but that comes with an additional cost.

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