“A new study says the wider use of heat pumps for heating and cooling homes and buildings could sharply reduce global fossil fuel emissions, but the solution has received relatively little policy support from governments, and its advantages are poorly understood by consumers.
The study, led by researchers from Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, suggests that further innovation with heat pumps combined with regulatory measures such as a carbon tax could eliminate 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions from the heating and cooling sectors.
While policymakers have focused most of their attention on decarbonizing the transportation (29% of global emissions) and the power sectors (28%), the potential payoffs from helping heat pumps become more competitive have received relatively little attention, says the study titled “Decarbonizing Space Heating With Air Source Heat Pumps.”
When powered by “zero carbon electricity,” the study shows how heat pumps can be competitive with natural gas-fired equipment in three U.S. cities with different climates and energy costs. They are Atlanta; San Diego; and Fargo, N.D.”