On a High Note: Washington is the First State to Mandate Efficient Heat Pumps

Washington is the First State to Mandate Efficient Heat Pumps

As of Friday, Washington State became the first in the US to legally require the installation of heat pumps over traditional gas-powered furnaces and water heaters in new construction. The mandate applies to any new commercial or multifamily residential buildings with four or more stories and requires that they heat 50% of their water with heat pumps. It also bans a number of standard HVAC systems that burn natural gas and "less efficient heating systems that use electric resistance (like floorboard heaters).”

This landmark law fits in well with President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which allocated $3.2 billion to make low-income housing more cost and energy-efficient. Businesses and homes produced 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 due to gas-powered heat and electricity, and waste handling. Moreover, gas appliances aren’t just bad for the environment. They’re toxic to human health.

Switching to heat pumps in just Washington could prevent 8.1 million tons of carbon emissions by 2050, equivalent to the emissions of 1.6 million cars. This legislation brings the state closer to meeting its 2031 goal to reduce building energy consumption by 70% of 2006 levels.

Technology Connections: Why Heat Pumps are Immensely Important Right Now, March 26, 2022.

This Old House: Understanding Heat Pumps | Future House, January 10, 2022.

Vox: Why heaters are the future of cooling, September 24, 2021.

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: Stanford researchers find high emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants from gas stoves, January 22, 2022.