Size Up or Size Down? National Analysis of Heat Pump Sizing and Impacts

Research output: NRELPresentation


Electrification of on-site fossil fuel combustion in buildings is recognized as a key component of achieving global greenhouse gas emissions targets. Air-source heat pumps are an efficient approach for space heating electrification. However, a major barrier to heat pump adoption is the high installation cost relative to furnaces and air conditioners. Because the installation cost of heat pumps - especially cold climate models - is dependent on their size, it is important to understand the distribution of heat pump sizes using different sizing methods and factors that impact heat pump sizing. In this study, we use sub-hourly physics simulations of 550,000 statistically representative dwelling units to analyze the distribution of heat pump size in the U.S. for three different efficiency levels of heat pumps, with and without building insulation and air sealing upgrades. We will present results from the national analysis of different factors affecting heat pump sizing along with the impact of sizing decisions on upgrade costs and operating costs.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2023 Hot Water Forum & Hot Air Forum, 7-9 March 2023, San Diego, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5500-85347


  • electrification
  • energy efficiency
  • fossil fuel
  • heat pumps
  • residential building stock


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