More than 60 HVAC installers, designers, and distributors gathered Thursday night to learn more about the next wave of heat pump technology coming to Vermont, and how to bring this new technology to their Vermont customers.
In recent years, Vermont has seen a surge in popularity of energy-saving ductless heat pump heating equipment. These wall units, which use very little energy to heat and cool rooms, have become an increasingly familiar sight in homes and businesses throughout the state. Since 2015, Efficiency Vermont has supported more than 8,800 ductless heat pump installations.
Now a new kind of heat pump – the air-to-water heat pump – could transform how numerous homes and businesses in Vermont are heated.
“This technology is poised to become a viable, energy efficient option for new or newer construction – both homes and commercial buildings -- because these units can replace more traditional oil or natural gas boilers where there is a modern, efficient hot water distribution system in place,” said Carol Weston, Director of Efficiency Vermont Programs and Implementation. “The air-to-water heat pump uses a small amount of electricity to heat, and even cool, water. Existing heat pumps save that kind of energy too, but integrating them with whole-home heating systems and controls has been a limiting factor for some.”
To introduce the air-to-water heat pump to Vermont HVAC professionals, Efficiency Vermont held a summit on May 10 at the Windjammer Best Western in South Burlington. Attendees learned from manufacturers how the systems work, how to install them, and how to advise customers about the need to pair the new technology with lower-temperature distribution systems.
“Air-to-water heat pumps are an opportunity for more Vermonters to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels for heating purposes, protecting the environment and making home heating more affordable.” said Weston. “HVAC professionals are the key to bringing this new technology to Vermont homes and businesses. By connecting directly with manufacturers of this technology, they are now in a position to make this promising opportunity a reality.”
Efficiency Vermont is evaluating the possibility of developing an incentive program to help reduce the cost of this new technology so it is more competitive with conventional heating systems.