America’s—and CMC’s—interest in heat pumps is heating up. Although America is a world leader in many areas, heat pump adoption in the states has lagged behind Asia and Europe’s. For example, Europe is expected to have more than 10 million heat pumps installed by 2030.
In contrast, driven by utility and government programs, heat pump adoption in the United States is expected to increase by 10 – 20 percent annually.
Reflecting our value of Being Out in Front, CMC is creating a niche in the marketplace for our services as a leader in this rapidly growing field. Here’s just a few ways that CMC is trying to lead the discussion on heat pumps and their adoption:
- CMC is leading a project to install 1,100 cold-climate ductless heat pumps in income-eligible multifamily homes for ComEd in Chicagoland. This comes on the heels of a 2019 pilot CMC led to test the performance of cold-climate ductless heat pumps in Chicago’s typically brutal winters.
- CMC also is managing Ameren’s multifamily, income-qualified and public housing initiative to install ductless heat pumps in Illinois. Last year, the team oversaw the installation of 588 heat pumps and already has 214 installations in the pipeline for this year.
- Working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), CMC created an interactive map of the HVAC ecosystem from manufacturer to distributors and contractors to customer. The supply chain map is a vital tool in helping NYSERDA find ways to influence the wide-scale adoption of heat pumps, and electrification in general, to meet New York state decarbonization goals.
“Heat pumps are a super-efficient way to reduce energy use and the carbon impact of a home especially while utilities are shifting more of the production of electricity to non-fossil fuel generation sources like wind and solar,” said Blaine Fox, vice president, Business Development. “Many states, such as Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, have created goals to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and support electrification.
“This shift represents a great way for CMC to get out in front of our competitors and develop new market capabilities that will help CMC grow its business,” he added.
Heat Pumps for Beginners
So how does a heat pump work? A heat pump heats a building by drawing warm air from one environment and pumping it into another. For example, using a refrigerant cycle to convert warmth from outside to heat your home in the heating season. Heat pumps also operate in the reverse direction, cooling the building by removing heat from the enclosed space and rejecting it outside. Basically, you can heat and cool your home with the one efficient system.
Industry leaders estimate that heat pumps can be three to four times more energy efficient than conventional fossil fuel furnaces. Couple this with CMC’s traditional building envelope-sealing efforts and many homeowners can see notable decreases in their heating costs.
There are two main types of heat pumps: air source heat pumps (which circulate air to heat and cool homes) and ground source heat pumps (that draw heat from the earth).
One of the biggest challenges facing heat pump adoption is an issue close to CMC’s mission: how to make sure this sometimes pricey technology is available to low- and moderate-income households without increasing their energy burden
“Heat pumps, combined with comprehensive weatherization, can be expensive to install but we don’t want to leave behind a customer class that would benefit the most from this technology,” Fox said. “Low income households spend a disproportionate amount of their income on heating and cooling. If this technology combined with appropriate utility incentives can be made available to those homes, it can help reduce that burden.”
Heat pumps can drive growth for CMC’s business while helping us fulfill our mission of empowering communities through energy efficiency and clean energy to create a more comfortable, affordable and equitable future for all, Fox noted.
And, that’s why heat pumps are heating up CMC’s business.