The environmental benefits of heat pumps
One of the biggest ways you can help reduce pollution is by heating and cooling your home with a heat pump. Heat pumps are the best way to keep your home nice and comfortable all year long. They also use much less energy than other HVAC systems and don’t need any fossil fuels to operate. In fact, 98 percent of U.S. households would cut their carbon emissions by installing a heat pump today.
Here’s why heat pumps are the best choice for your family and the environment.
Heating and cooling are responsible for 60 percent of our home emissions — and a heat pump can reduce your heating-related fossil fuel use by 40 percent or more. In the fight against climate change, upgrading to a heat pump is the most important thing you can do right now. (Unless you’re a U.S. Senator or the CEO of a major dirty energy company, in which case, call us any time and we’re happy to give you some personalized suggestions!)
When paired with clean electricity sources like rooftop solar panels or community-scale renewables such as wind and solar, heat pumps can warm your home without warming the planet. Even if your electricity supply isn’t 100 percent clean today, a heat pump eliminates the need to pipe in and burn up oil or gas on your property and within your home. That’s good for your family and good for the planet: A study in the journal Science shows that gas furnaces (and the gas lines connected to your house) may be the source of ongoing emissions of unburned methane gas, which can be dozens of times more harmful to the planet than carbon dioxide.
Annual household carbon emissions reductions from switching to a heat pump:
6.3 tons for homes heating with propane or fuel oil
3.5 tons for homes heating with methane gas
1.1 tons for homes heating with electric resistance
For an average home, annual carbon emissions reduction is 2.8 tons. This is calculated by taking the weighted average over the above fuel types.
Heat pumps are 2 to 3 times more efficient than most current fossil-fuel heating systems, meaning they use much less total energy. And compared to your average air conditioner, most heat pumps, especially mini-splits, also use less energy for cooling. So again, even if your electricity supply is powered in part by dirty energy, you’ll use much less of it with a heat pump. And as the grid gets cleaner, your emissions will continue to fall.
If you’re ready to upgrade to a heat pump, check out the step-by-step instructions on our heat pump project page.
Heat pumps are the best way to heat and cool your home, lower your electric bill, and get gas out of your home. Electrify your home with Rewiring America's free heat pump guide. Check it out.
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