Northwest ductless heat pump Pilot Project—a holistic approach to market transformation and evaluation
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There are approximately one million existing electrically heated homes in the Northwest. The Northwest region of the USA as defined for this project includes the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana. Within this area, there are a range of climate zones. The region also includes a wide range of electric markets, from rural to large urban areas. Ductless heat pumps (DHPs) have the potential to save several hundred average megawatts in this market and reduce the carbon intensity of target homes by more than 30 %. To leverage this large potential resource for the region, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) used a holistic approach to design, implement, and evaluate the Northwest DHP Pilot Project. NEEA worked with contractors, manufacturers, distributors, and utilities to generate demand for DHPs, build a thriving and sustainable network to meet that demand, and ultimately transform the DHP market. NEEA designed the DHP Pilot Project evaluation to conduct an integrated assessment of DHP technical performance and market acceptance. The evaluation included five “tiers” of DHP research: (1) market acceptance, including interviews with manufacturers, distributors, utilities, program implementation staff, and nearly 300 participants; (2) lab testing of two DHPs; (3) field monitoring of 95 participating homes; (4) billing analysis of the pilot population (3899 sites); and (5) cost-effectiveness analysis of the DHP measure. By taking a “360 degree” perspective, the evaluators were able to make granular distinctions between performance-based and behavior-based determinants of energy savings. This paper discusses the tools used to influence DHP market perception and to overcome skeptics of this technology. The paper also assesses the evaluation approach, including the pros and cons of assessing a technology and program design from multiple angles in order to identify reliable savings and the potential for future programs. The paper summarizes extensive primary research and case studies. As such, the paper focuses solely on the direct experience and findings from the research.
KeywordsDuctless heat pumps Integrated analysis Market transformation Field monitoring Billing analysis Program evaluation Regional planning Lab testing Customer surveys
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