We find ourselves hanging in a careful balance between continuing our work on various plans and policies that started before COVID-19 and managing a new direct response to the pandemic. This policy tracker is the first of a two-part analysis of policies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. This first installment focuses on non-COVID-19 policies. Keep an eye out for the second blog analyzing COVID-19 response efforts.
My vacation to Costa Rica last week was a brilliant reminder of two things. One, Costa Rica is very hot, even in February. And two, air source heat pumps are incredibly effective at what they’re designed to do. Truly, the difference between being indoors versus outdoors during the Costa Rican dry season was night and day. The Airbnb my partner and I rented in Tamarindo, a little beach town on the northwestern coast, was equipped with two state-of-the-art heat pump units that kept us comfortable all hours of the day.
Last fall, just as the weather started to turn, my old AC condenser met its death. It was a sad time – not because I needed to worry about cooling my house, but because all I saw was a future filled with dollar signs and stress.
Thankfully, I work at NEEP, and know all about the benefits of heat pumps. An air source heat pump (ASHP) seemed like the logical, no-brainer next step. Turns out, this next step was going to be quite an educational experience.
Here are five key things I learned about ASHPs as I navigated the market as a consumer:
In this issue of Building Decarb Central, we look at some of the critical discussions and findings from NEEP’s recent 2019 Air Source Heat Pump Market Transformation Workshop in Woburn, Massachusetts. The two-day event drew about 150 people from all over the U.S. and Canada who focused on building the market to provide low-carbon space heating for buildings.
Natural gas creates carbon dioxide when we burn it to heat buildings and water. But it also leaks methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere when it does not make it all the way to our furnaces and water heaters. Older natural gas lines are more likely to leak. Sometimes the leaks get to explosive levels and make the evening news, but on a regular basis there are smaller leaks that emit methane into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
Do you remember where you were on June 2, 2014?
Some of you may have been in Newport, Rhode Island at NEEP’s first in-person Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) Market Transformation Workshop: Air Source Heat Pump Workshop – Warming Up the Market. Months before the workshop, NEEP had published a market transformation strategies report that had established a roadmap for regional stakeholder collaboration towards market development of ASHPs.
In January of 2015, NEEP launched a new program to more effectively differentiate air source heat pumps (ASHP) capable of high performance in cold-climate applications. A new specification had to be developed and manufacturers were invited to provide the necessary information to have their products included on the list NEEP creatively dubbed the Cold Climate ASHP Product List. NEEP has maintained and housed the list of products in an excel spreadsheet for download on our website ever since.
Every year in the fall, I head to Cape Cod for a last-ditch vacation before the year-end work crunch hits and the New England winter begins to take hold. 2018 was no different. At least as I headed to Provincetown.
Three days before I was supposed to return home, vacation was cut short. While I was at the beach without cell service, my family frantically called and texted. “Turn on the news,” all the messages said. And, just like that, life changed.
The energy and carbon intensity of existing buildings has been a vexing problem for more than three decades. While lighting, appliances, and a wide variety of other technologies have significantly upgraded energy performance, the buildings that they are placed into have been remarkably resistant to major change.