Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hosted members of Congress, state representatives, utilities, and a heat pump manufacturer to discuss a market transition to cleaner, more efficient, cold climate heat pumps. The event, “Accelerating Cold Climate Heat Pump Technology and Adoption in the Midwest,” focused on reducing the carbon footprint of cold climate heating to help reach the Biden Administration’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. 

WATCH: Secretary Granholm hosts roundtable discussion on Cold Climate Heat Pumps 

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman represented DOE in the roundtable discussion. Secretary Granholm also announced new commitments from state and utility partners to participate in DOE’s Cold Climate Heat Pump Challenge, which seeks to improve the efficiency and performance of new heat pumps in the field. 

“We believe in this technology, and a critical part of this Residential Cold Climate Heat Pump Technology Challenge is backing that belief up,” said Secretary Granholm. “We’re going to put these designs through rigorous analysis. We’re going to field test them with our partners, throughout an entire winter. We’re going to make sure these cold climate heat pumps meet their performance and efficiency targets, and that they can work in sub-zero temperatures. And we’re committed to ensuring that cold climate heat pump adopters are satisfied.” 

Space conditioning and water heating account for over 40% of primary energy consumption in buildings in the United States and are a major source of carbon emissions. Heat pumps, which heat and cool buildings by extracting heat from the air, use electricity as their only fuel source creating significant opportunities for on-site carbon emissions reductions compared to traditional gas heating appliances. Through continued advancements, cold climate, electric heat pumps have the potential to save an average American family as much as $500 annually on their utility bills. 

In November 2021, DOE announced the commitment of six leading HVAC manufacturers to participate in the Cold Climate Heat Pump Challenge, and two additional manufacturers  subsequently agreed to participate. Today, DOE is pleased to announce the new state agencies and utilities joining the Challenge as partners, including: 

State Agencies (Seven total) 

  • Alaska Housing Finance Corporation
  • Colorado Energy Office
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Montana Energy Office
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
  • Public Service Commission of Wisconsin 

Utilities and Cooperatives (14 total) 

  • Alaska Electric Light and Power (AK)
  • Bonneville Power Administration (Northwest U.S.)
  • Connexus Energy (MN)
  • DTE Energy (MI)
  • Efficiency Vermont (VT)
  • Energy New England (MA)
  • Eversource (MA/CT/NH)
  • Focus on Energy (WI)
  • Great River Energy (MN)
  • MA Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MA)
  • National Grid (MA/NY)
  • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (CO, NE, NM, WY)
  • Upper Peninsula Power Company (MI)
  • Xcel Energy (MN) 

For more information on partner commitments, visit the Cold Climate Heat Pump Challenge homepage

The mission of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.