Optimism remains high that the federal government will extend existing tax credits beyond 2016, and local utilities and state governments will start (or continue) offering incentives to encourage homeowners to invest in GHPs.
Geothermal heat pumps are among the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies currently available because they use the earth’s natural heat to provide heating, cooling, and, often, water heating.
Savvy contractors working in this niche market focus not only on deep energy reductions, but on non-energy benefits, such as improved comfort, better IAQ, increased home values, and a more durable home.
Manufacturers had a lot to like about last year. According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), shipments of equipment increased in just about every category in 2013. Especially notable were shipments of air-source heat pumps, which were up 16 percent over 2012.
Sales of air-source heat pumps used to be concentrated primarily in the Southern U.S., but that is changing as consumers become more aware of their energy-saving capabilities. In fact, in many markets, it may be more cost-effective to use an air-source heat pump for the majority of a homeowner’s heating and cooling needs.
The energy-efficiency ratings of residential air-source heat pumps have risen dramatically over the last few years, with many manufacturers now offering equipment well exceeding the 20-SEER mark. There have been significant gains made in commercial heat pump efficiencies as well.