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Heat Pump Water Heating is a Big Part of DOE’s Plans to Decarbonize: New Blueprint Reveals

The Department of Energy seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aggressively, and they’ve outlined their strategy to do so in a comprehensive blueprint. Water heating plays a critical role in the DOE’s plans, and it brings interesting insights for commercial buildings.

The Department of Energy seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% before 2035 and by 90% before 2035, compared to 2005. In order to do so, the DOE has recognized the need to focus on buildings keenly. Buildings are responsible for over 1/3rd of greenhouse gas emissions. 

The DOE’s blueprint for achieving these necessary decarbonization goals presents an informative, and actionable outlook into large-scale sustainable strategy and can be accessed here. Water heating plays a crucial role in the DOE’s blueprint. Here are some highlights about water heating’s role from the DOE’s plans: 

1. The DOE envisions electrifying water heating to accelerate on-site emissions reductions.

Electrifying water heating systems means that heat pump water heaters like Intellihot’s Electron Series will have a huge role to play in decarbonization. Heat pump water heaters might also become the dominant means of water heating with a push towards sustainable electrification. According to the DOE, “Converting heating and water heating to heat pumps inherently increases the efficiency of on-site energy use.”

2. Using fossil fuel sources for water heating releases harmful pollutants.

Apart from helping curb global warming, transitioning away from fossil fuel sources for water heating is also safer for you and your loved ones as it helps improve air quality. Hence, building decarbonization also improves people’s lives apart from reducing emissions and energy bills. The DOE also recognizes factors such as the creation of high-quality jobs with economic growth, and energy security that will result from building decarbonization measures. 

3. The DOE wants efficient and clean water heating equipment to achieve 100% market share by 2037.

The DOE wants all water heating equipment to be clean and highly efficient by 2037. Moreover, it wants to ensure that all electric resistance water heaters are replaced by heat pumps before 2050. The DOE also wants to make sure that heat pumps constitute more than 90% of space and water heating sales for small-to-medium commercial applications and residential applications by 2050. 

The above goals make it clear: the DOE intends to make heat pumps the dominant technology for water heating as soon as possible. 

4. The DOE wants to ensure that water heaters with a GWP of less than 10 are widely available by 2035.

One of the biggest culprits of global warming has been refrigerants. More specifically, hydrofluorocarbon-based refrigerants. Refrigerants are an integral part of heat pumps: a technology that DOE wishes to popularize. In order to curb the harmful effects of refrigerants, the DOE wants to ensure high availability of heat pump water heaters with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of less than 10 by 2035. 

Refrigerants like the CO2-based R744 have an extremely low Global Warming Potential of 1. Intellihot’s Electron Series uses the R744 refrigerant already, making the tankless heat pump water heater future-proof.