Efficiency Maine’s Residential Heat Pump Initiative is Labeled “Groundbreaking” by the Association of Energy Services Professionals
Augusta, Maine – Feb. 8, 2022 — Today Efficiency Maine received national recognition for its heat pump initiative from the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP). The Trust accepted the AESP 2022 Groundbreaking Program Design and Implementation Award for Residential Programs this morning during the open plenary session of the organization’s annual conference and expo under way in Nashville, Tenn.
“The trajectory of heat pump installations in Maine appears to be reaching a tipping point and we’re delighted that AESP has recognized our contribution to the adoption of this vital, climate-impacting technology in our state,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of the Efficiency Maine Trust. “We’re proud of the success our program has achieved and of the survey results that show that more than 93% of homeowners rated their overall experience with it a 9 or 10 on a scale of zero to 10.”
“Efficiency Maine’s heat pump program is a crucial example to others in the industry of the importance of proper incentivization,” said Jen Szaro, president and CEO of AESP. “When we properly motivate consumers and supply chains to change technology and behaviors, we accelerate progress toward a clean energy future.”
“Under Governor Mills’ leadership and working with a bipartisan legislature, Maine has made the adoption of high-efficiency heat pumps a central policy to reduce our nation-leading dependence on home heating oil and save residents money,” said Dan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “This recognition is well-deserved as Efficiency Maine Trust programs have led to a record number of heat pump installations in every corner of the state.”
The Trust’s residential heat pump initiative is part of its Home Energy Savings Program (HESP), which drives market-based installation of efficient heating systems through rebates, loans, education, and by maintaining a vendor network. In FY2021 (July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021), the Trust’s HESP program incentivized 23,376 heat pumps, representing a 123% increase compared to FY2020 and a 177% increase compared to FY2019.*
Among the winning features of the residential heat pump initiative are Efficiency Maine’s web-based Home Heating Cost Calculator, a tool that can be adjusted to a home’s actual usage and shows the annual savings compared to oil, propane, natural gas, and wood. The calculator graphs the results, sorting heating systems from least to most expensive. In 2021, the calculator tool received more than 20,000 web hits.
Another notable feature is Efficiency Maine’s heat pump installer network and vendor locator tool. Over the life of the HESP program, having heard from customers that a leading barrier to heat pump installations is finding qualified contractors, the Trust has recruited more than 600 heat pump contractors to join its heat pump installer network. Participating in the network gives them access to rebates, financing, co-op marketing funds, a heat pump basics online video, training scholarships, best practice tips, free brochures, newsletters, and leads.
The Trust also has developed and published a set of Heat Pump User Tips that heat pump installers give to program participants at the time of installation.
The program is supported by a call center that on average fields 88 calls a day. Representatives answer customer inquiries, deliver requested resource material, and help with outbound marketing campaigns.
Information on residential heat pump rebate eligibility, loans, installation considerations, and sample case studies can be found at https://www.efficiencymaine.com/about-heat-pumps/.
About Efficiency Maine Trust
The Efficiency Maine Trust (the Trust) is the administrator for programs to improve the efficiency of energy use and reduce greenhouse gasses in Maine. The Trust serves all sectors and all regions of the state. Its suite of nationally recognized programs provides consumer information, discounts, rebates, loans and investments for high-efficiency, clean energy equipment and strategies to manage energy demand. The Trust is a quasi-state agency governed by a Board of Trustees with oversight from the Maine Public Utilities Commission. More information on Efficiency Maine can be found at efficiencymaine.com.
*In FY2021, the Trust refined its methodology for counting heat pump units. Prior to FY2020, each indoor unit counted as one heat pump. In FY2020, the Trust switched its approach to count each outdoor unit as one heat pump unit, regardless of the number of indoor units served. In FY2021, the Trust based its count of units on a “heat pump equivalent” to accommodate the diversity of systems installed across the residential and commercial sectors. The Trust assumes that one “heat pump equivalent” is counted for every 25.1 MMBtu/year of heat provided. This metric is based on the modeled performance of a single residential heat pump with an Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)-rated Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) between 10 and 12.5. In order to compare equivalent metrics, Efficiency Maine used the “heat pump equivalent” figure to calculate the year-over-year percent change.
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Kate Rankin, Senior Communications Manager
Efficiency Maine Trust