New Initiative Aims to Bring More Efficient, Rooftop Heat Pump Technologies to Market as Soon as 2027

WASHINGTON, D.C. — At the annual Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced new Better Building Initiatives to help organizations in all sectors of the U.S. economy save energy while reducing costs and emissions. Among the new initiatives is the Better Buildings Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator, through which manufacturers will produce higher efficiency and life cycle cost-effective heat pump rooftop units and commercial organizations will evaluate and adopt next-generation heat pump technology. DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative is partnering with leaders in the public and private sectors to advance next-generation solutions, promote climate leadership, and support workforce development—underscoring the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to drive energy innovation, lower energy costs, and address the climate crisis. 

“Since 2011, DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative has helped paved the way for cost-effective energy efficiency and decarbonization solutions across America’s building sector,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Our new Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator builds on more than a decade of public-private partnerships to get cutting edge clean technologies from lab to market, helping to slash harmful carbon emissions throughout our economy.” 

The U.S. spends about $800 billion each year to power buildings, plants, and homes. On average, between 20% and 30% of the nation’s energy is wasted, presenting a significant opportunity to increase energy efficiency. Through the Better Buildings Initiative, DOE partners with public and private sector stakeholders to pursue ambitious portfolio-wide energy, waste, water, and/or emissions reduction goals and publicly share solutions. By improving building design, materials, equipment, and operations, energy efficiency gains can be achieved across broad segments of the nation’s economy. 

The Accelerator was developed with commercial end users like Amazon, IKEA, and Target, and already includes manufacturers AAON, Carrier Global Corp., Lennox International, Rheem Manufacturing Co., Trane Technologies, and York International Corp. The Accelerator aims to bring more efficient, affordable next-generation heat pump rooftop units to market as soon as 2027—which will slash both emissions and energy costs in half compared to natural gas-fueled heat pumps. If deployed at scale, they could save American businesses and commercial entities $5 billion on utility bills every year. 

DOE’s Public and Private Sector Partnership for Accelerating Climate Solutions 
The Better Buildings Summit is an annual leadership conference that convenes more than 800 attendees for three days of partner-led meetings, peer exchange, and recognition. DOE also announced the following at the Summit today:  

  • Recognizing Leadership: More than 40 organizations received Better Project, Better Practice and Climate Finance Innovator awards for their industry-leading accomplishments in decarbonization, energy and water efficiency, or waste reduction. 65 organizations were recognized as recipients of the tenth annual Green Lease Leaders awards for their leadership in leveraging green leases for the advancement of sustainability or net zero goals.  
  • New Working Groups on Decarbonization: DOE launched three new working groups for Better Climate Challenge partners focusing on central plant decarbonization, shifting to low-impact refrigerants, and financial strategies for industrial decarbonization.  
  • Sharing Successful Pathways: DOE’s Better Buildings Solution Center has been overhauled to improve navigation, functionality, and design, focusing on a new, powerful search platform to more effectively filter 3,000+ efficiency and decarbonization solutions. 
  • DOE Lighting Prize American Made Challenge: The third and final phase of the challenge offers $10 million in prizes for up to four winners for producing and installing next-generation lighting products for commercial buildings. 

Through the Better Buildings Initiative, DOE partners with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more efficient, thereby saving energy and money while reducing emissions and strengthening the economy. To date, more than 900 Better Buildings partners have saved $18.5 billion in energy costs while sharing their innovative strategies. Learn about the more than 3,000 proven efficiency and decarbonization solutions on the Better Buildings Solution Center website.  

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