Skip to content

☁️ "One Weird Trick to Decarbonize your Home"

The Carbon Copy

Photo by Dewi Karuniasih / Unsplash

Host: Stephen Lacey
Guests: Nate Adams | CEO | HVAC 2.0 &
Alexander Gard-Murray | Political Economist | Brown University's Climate Solutions Lab
Category: ☁️ Carbon Reduction | Heat Pumps

Subscribe now

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[0:07] SL: “Every minute 12 central air conditioning units are swapped out or installed at homes across America. That's 18,000 per week, 6 million per year. […] They're relying on outdated technology.”

[0:28] NA: “What most people get is the same as what they got and say 1955 experience wise. […] [Although] a heat pump and an air conditioner are fundamentally the same piece of equipment. Think of two identical cars, one that has a reverse gear and one that doesn't. So it's just one of those total no-brainers to at least install heat pumps instead of air conditioners, even if they're on top of furnaces. And this is a really pragmatic way to move towards electrification.”

[3:31] SL: “Electrification is the backbone of zero carbon grid and heat pumps are the backbone of electrification. One little tweak of production of air conditioners could make them accessible to millions more Americans. […] Heat pumps are the hot new thing in climate tech right now for a couple of reasons. The fastest way we can slash emissions out of the economy is to electrify as much as possible, our cars, water heaters, space heating. And the fastest way to electrify is to deploy heat pumps, which efficiently heat and cool spaces without lighting oil or gas on fire inside our homes.”

[5:54] SL: “In the US 40% of new single family homes use heat pumps for primary heating and cooling, or as a supplement to fossil fuels. That's not bad, but they still only make up 7% of total residential heating demand. If we want to electrify most or all of our homes, we need to start replacing existing HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems. And a good place to start installing heat pumps instead of conventional central air conditioners […]. Making a two way heat pump instead of an AC unit is only a few $100 on the production side and that could save consumers huge amounts of money. What if the government incentivizes manufacturers to make the switch?”

[7:14] AG: “If we swapped out new central AC for heat pumps, how would that affect people's bills? […] How much money is that going to save? How much money is that going to cost the federal government? […] We were really happy to see that the benefits are going to be five [to] eight times the cost of doing this. […] The cost is going to depend on how many manufacturers take up the program, but you're talking several billion dollars upfront in tax credits for manufacturers. Over the next decade, we project that conversion incentive […] would save consumers $27 billion. And so for the average family getting one of these units, that's going to work out to around 160-170 bucks each year.”

[10:59] NA: “If we would like to finish home decarbonisation by 2050, we need to be […] installing 100% heat pumps [by 2030].

[14:21] AG: “The Heater Act is a new bill proposed by Senator Amy Klobuchar, and co-sponsored by a bunch of other senators that really tries to ramp up the production of heat pumps, especially efficient heat pumps in the United States. It's got a range of subsidies for different kinds of heat pumps for homes and for business. But one of the key provisions is a conversion incentive.”

[19:40] AG: “For a long time, a lot of the focus on decarbonisation was on the energy supply. And that makes sense, because the energy supply is something you don't need to go into individual homes to change. You can change where the power comes from. But equally important is how we use energy. […] And buildings are a huge component of energy use. So I think that's why we're seeing a lot more attention on heat pumps, because that consciousness is rising that we can't get there just by changing where we get our energy. And if we do change the whole electricity grid, but people are still sitting on fossil fuel heating in their homes, then the benefits of that clean electricity are going to be limited. We need heat pumps to make sure that individual families get the full benefits of the clean energy transition.”

Rating: ☁️☁️☁️

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 22 min | 🗓️ 06/29/2022
✅ Time saved: 20 min

Additional Links:
Article: “A new bill could speed up American electrification by 20 years” (Canary Media, 2022)

Subscribe now