24 June 2014

Recent Progress in the Residential U.S. Heat Pump Market

13.5 million homes in the United States rely on heat pumps (HPs) for their
primary heating equipment, about 80% of which are concentrated in the
Southern United States. HPs are a technology of choice in the South not only due to the relatively moderate winter weather, but also because of the relatively greater affordability of electricity compared to natural gas in that region. Historical data analysis showed a strong correlation between growth in HP shipments and a drop in electricity prices relative to natural gas. HPs also showed growth in the new housing market: 38% of homes completed in 2012 included a HP, up from 25% in 1978. However, more than 74% of HP shipments are absorbed by the replacement and add-on markets. Even though HP technology experienced growth in the last decades, the future may be even more
promising. The market transformation and research societies are working toward validating HPs in the cold climate region. This, together with other potential favorable market conditions, could even exceed the 2014 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) estimates of tripling HP stock by 2040.