Ductless heat pumps (DHP) are all the rage within the utility, energy efficiency program administrator, evaluation, HVAC and solar industries, and environmental advocacy worlds. With all of this hype and activity, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships’ (NEEP) Regional EM&V Forum contracted with Energy Futures Group (EFG) and Energy and Resource Solutions (ERS) (the “researchers”) to compile and synthesize the recently available evaluation studies on DHPs in order to understand how they are really performing and what energy efficiency programs should know as they design programs to encourage their installation. From the 40 studies and a series of industry interviews, the researchers were able to identify a number of key findings in terms of DHP performance, market barriers and opportunities, market acceptance and satisfaction, future product features and growth, program recommendations and knowledge gaps.
Given that the NEEP territory includes the colder regions of the Northeast, the general focus of this research has been on studies that address DHPs in colder climates, including the Pacific Northwest, mid-Atlantic and New England. This research examined performance in these climates, for both new cold-climate technology (systems that can provide heat consistently down to 5 degrees and colder) and for conventional heat pump technology. Also, most of the reports focus on single head units, but multi head units designed to perform at low temperatures introduce even more diversity into this category of technologies and will arrive on the market shortly.
The researchers gathered, organized and synopsized the studies into a series of spreadsheets in order to more easily compare and contrast the findings of each. Information was cataloged in terms of “performance analysis” and “market analysis”. In addition to these studies, the researchers also identified and interviewed 16 manufacturer representatives, DHP contractors and energy efficiency program administrators.