The Path to Drawdown: High-Efficiency Heat Pumps
Buildings and construction account for about 38% of global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy-use. More than one-third of that is for heating and cooling, which could cut energy use by 30-40% with maximum efficiency.
Heat pumps are the technology that can increase heating and cooling efficiency most effectively. Heat pumps extract heat from the air and transfer it from indoors to the outside for cooling, and from outdoors in for heating. The ground, air, or water can act as the source of or outlet for that heat.
Heat pumps are easy to adopt, well understood, and already in use around the world. They can supply indoor heating, cooling, and hot water, all from one integrated unit. With high efficiency, they can dramatically reduce building energy use. When paired with renewable energy sources, they could eliminate almost all emissions from heating and cooling.
According to Project Drawdown, high-efficiency heat pumps need to continue growing mildly between now and mid-century to help achieve decarbonization:
- <::marker> In 2018, high-efficiency heat pumps accounted for 3% of the market for delivered heat globally
- <::marker> To stay below 1.5°C of global warming, high-efficiency heat pumps need to grow enough to account for 4.3% of that market by 2060
- <::marker> That’s 0.86% growth annually between 2018 and 2060
If this scaling can be achieved, heat pumps can help avoid up to 9.3 gigatons of GHG emissions.