New This WeekNewsletterSustainable Design

Heat Pumps Are for a More Sustainable Future

It’s a familiar scenario: Rhode Islanders considering a switch to modern heat pump technology—which is more efficient than other heating and cooling options and far less harmful to the environment—often encounter myths and concerns based on outdated or incorrect information. In our busy lives, this is typically where the conversation stops.

According to ECO RI News, in effort to encourage the transition to heat pumps, Rhode Island has joined eight other states in the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM)-written pledge that electric heat pumps will make up at least 65% of all residential heating and cooling products shipped to Rhode Island and other partner states by 2030, and raise that to 90% by 2040. However, according to the latest survey by the Energy Information Administration (EIA, 2020), Rhode Island uses electricity for only 11.9% of heating needs, which includes inefficient electric resistance as well as heat pump technology, meaning Rhode Island is far from the 16% average across the nation.

There are many preconceptions about heat pumps, which can heat and cool a home by replacing both a traditional air conditioner and a home heating system such as a furnace, boiler, or inefficient baseboard heat. 

“Someone may have heard those rumors,” said Brian Kearney, director of residential services for RISE Engineering, “and while they might have been true 10 or 15 years ago, we strongly believe that it’s no longer the case, if the equipment is sized appropriately, and the design is an appropriate mix of system, based on the details of your home.”

Read More