2021 Webinar Series - 5 Glide Path for Heat Pump Adoption

Electrify With Heat Pumps – The Glide Path - How Many Heat Pumps Do We Need to Meet Our Climate Goals? – 2030 is right around the corner. How many fossil fuel heating systems do we need to phase out each year to reduce carbon emissions 40% in order to meet New York’s legal mandate? Experts Jerry Acton and Bob Wyman have been studying this question for years. Sharad Bharadwaj of E3 has been compiling data on this question for New York’s Climate Action Council. Hear a lively discussion that has crucial consequences for the geothermal industry as well as our collective ability to survive the climate crisis.







  1. Sharad mentioned not all heat pumps (to be deployed) will not be ground source there will be a mix of ... cold climate. What are you defining as a cold climate heat pump? Don't GSHPs lend themselves better to cold climates than do ASHPs?
    1. Thanks for the question, I was being a little imprecise with language. You are right that GSHPs are cold climate heat pumps themselves. I meant to draw a distinction between conventional air source heat pumps and cold climate air source heat pumps which are more performant air source heat pumps that can operate at much lower temperatures (although they do have performance degradation as the temperature drops, the same way that conventional air source heat pumps do). I don’t have a specific cutoff between a “conventional” and “cold climate” heat pump, but for some general background please see this DOE page on cold climate heat pump technologies, and this NEEP data on cold climate heat pump specifications:
    2. https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/articles/cold-climate-air-source-heat-pumps-innovative-technology-stay-warm-winter
    3. https://neep.org/high-performance-air-source-heat-pumps/ccashp-specification-product-list
  2. Sharad, has your team looked at reusing the 8-13mm gallons per day of wastewater from the New York subway as a heat source/sink before it is pumped into the river?
    1. We have not looked at this explicitly, but would be happy to if you could provide any background or information on this. I think this is part of a more general thread around co-optimizing industrial and other large users  (for example, using waste heat from industrial facilities, electric power plants, et cetera)
  3. Sharad - when you project 50-70% of new heating appliances being heat pumps by 2030 - does that include both new builds and replacements of heating equipment
    1. That’s right, that 50-70% of new sales includes both new builds as well as replacements of existing equipment which has reached end of life.
  4. I'm curious to know how many more contractor hours we need to add to reach these goals? I'm concerned that this number may be even harder to reach than the installation numbers
    1. To achieve the conversion numbers, the workforce skills need to expand across the board: architect, designers, trainers, installers, inspectors.  Plus significant manufacturing capacity.
    2. Dependence on vertical drilling will need to be reduced by using additional sources of thermal energy: surface water, solar thermal, wastewater in particular.
  5. Jerry, what is your definition of a “housing unit”?  Single family home, apartment in a multifamily building
    1. Yes, family level apartments and homes.  Used census survey data
  6. Sharad - when you project the huge drop in economy wide energy demand with electrification, does that assume building performance improvements (eg: envelope improvements)?
    1. Mark, that’s right - the drop does assume significant envelope improvements in buildings as well. The precise envelope improvements which will occur are still an open question and I think the Advisory Panels will be providing some perspective on how much building envelope improvements are likely to occur or likely to be cost effective to incentivize, but I think it’s fair to assume some non-trivial amount of envelope improvements are likely to occur.
  7. With exacerbation of extreme weather in the future, utility costs of line maintenance could be markedly reduced if electric lines could be universally transferred underground, protected by old gas lines...yes?
    1. That’s an interesting concept and would need someone experienced in both electric and gas utilities to answer with any accuracy.  I’ll ask National Grid next time I speak with them.
  8. How do we address that the utilities are pushing RNG and hydrogen as the solution instead of just electrification? Also, I noticed that Sharad included those as part of a decarbonization strategy
    1. Addressed live
  9. Sharad's presentation showed significant biogas and hydrogen uptake over the next 30 years.  Bob just indicated those alternatives are not viable.  Can someone square that peg?
    1. Addressed live, but in short significant biogas and hydrogen uptake is in non-building end uses
  10. The vast majority of local decision makers are entirely unaware of the reality laid out here. Better said, many are being actively misinformed by the business council and unshackle upstate. What's our strategy here?
  11. Sharad - following on your reply to Bill Nowak..  What is the expected annual replacement of heating equipment?
    1. Roughly 15-20 years average lifetime of heating equipment
  12. In response to Jerry's response we need numbers & implications in the education & WFD system
  13. With the involvement of utilities it should spur the decision to join the geothermal industry, including drillers with utility involvement it would guarantee that the work will be there in order to meet the demand that the utility produces.
  14. Jerry - Is there an estimated cost associated with the 124k (by 2025) and 385k (by 2030) annual conversion of residential heating systems?
    1. Yes, but that is another entire presentation.  Approximately $400 Billion for 6.5 million conversions