Heat pumps are a highly efficient technology for heating residential and commercial buildings. They use electricity to transfer heat from the outside air, or ground, to the interior. This is in contrast to more widespread technologies such as warm-air furnaces and variable air volume systems, which typically burn oil or natural gas to heat buildings.
Electrifying space heating can help decarbonize the heating sector by using renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and hydropower. There is no technology that can currently rival heat pumps in efficiently delivering space heating for the residential and commercial sectors. In this technology brief, we outline how heat pump technology works and provide an overview of how they can be used as part of a clean energy system.