Heat Pumps Are Central To Enabling A Zero-Emission Future

Energy storage and sophisticated controls to manage distributed energy resources are central to a successful transition to a zero-emission future. Practical and affordable solutions are needed to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels at a pace that is almost unfathomable.

Heating potable water is the second-largest consumer of energy in the average residential structure. Depending on the type of building, somewhere between 60% & 80% hot water consumption occurs within four to six hours across two periods; a morning surge and an evening surge. Traditional heating water approaches with hot-surface heating elements, or combusting fossil fuels use 3X – 5X the energy that an efficient HP system will consume and are generally more-or-less on-demand. Thus, the tight alignment of consumption behavior among the general population creates a significant surge in energy demand twice per day.

The electrification of buildings will result in more of this demand being met by delivered electricity. Without a controls strategy that manages the new and existing load, the cost of new infrastructure required to convey the electricity will be extraordinarily high, and the risk of failure imminent.

Battery storage and other forms of energy storage have a role to play in the overall scheme, no question. But they have no place in storing energy to make hot water. Because human consumption of hot water is highly predictable and repeats on a 24-hour clock, the most effective strategy for decarbonizing the second-largest emitter of carbon in a given building is through smart heat pump water heaters and thermal storage.