Characterization of Cold Climate ASHPs in Dane County’s Residential Housing Stock
Decarbonization is a becoming a key strategy for many governments in combatting today’s climate crisis. Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) provide an efficient, all-electric way to both heat and cool homes using one system, and are becoming a common recommended approach for many decarbonization strategies. Previously ASHP technology had been limited to moderate climates; however, improvements in heat pump technology over recent years have enabled the development of ccASHPs (cold-climate ASHPs), which can produce adequate heat even in extreme sub-zero temperatures.
The purpose of this report was to quantify the potential for upgrading certain housing stocks in Dane County to ccASHPs and develop strategies for accelerating ccASHP adoption in Dane County in existing homes that do not use natural gas for heating. Opportunities within specific housing stocks were identified based on the carbon emission reduction potential, utility reduction, and implementation cost. In addition, 15 interviews were conducted with stakeholders to contextualize the quantitative findings and identify additional barriers to ccASHP implementation experienced by those recently pursuing ccASHPs in Dane County.
Key recommendations for Dane County include:
- Expand ccASHP electrification efforts to residences with electric resistance heat, as these homes have a lower upgrade cost with higher carbon savings as compared to propane and fuel-oil heated homes.
- Target ccASHP programs to homes without air-conditioning, as approximately one-third of Dane County residential units do not currently have access to air-conditioning.
- Create a core program dedicated to electrifying residential buildings to scale electrification of homes in Dane County.
- For ccASHP programs aimed at conversion of fuel-oil and propane heated residences, focus initially on single-family housing stocks located in rural census tracts where this heating type is concentrated.
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