New Heat Pump Requirements Buoy Building Electrification Measures

Feb 07, 2023

Seattle skyline in the daytime with the Needle on the left hand side and a view of Mt. Rainier in the background on the right.

New Heat Pump Requirements Buoy Building Electrification Measures

All New Constructions in Seattle, WA, Will Use Heat Pumps Starting in Summer 2023 

Beginning in July 2023, new home and apartment construction in Washington will be installing heat pumps to meet building electrification measures established in Seattle and across the state. This update to the state’s building codes requires homes to install heat pumps for water heating and space heating and cooling. This focus on new construction will allow future homes to be sustainable from their outset. These new requirements expand on existing changes to building codes mandating heat pumps be installed in new commercial and large multifamily residential buildings. 

SEE MORE: Are Commercial Heat Pumps the Right Choice for Your Company?

Optimize Energy Efficiency With Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have risen in prominence as they provide a sustainable, efficient alternative to conventional heating. Heat pumps rely on electricity, of which over 70% is generated from carbon-free sources in Washington. Moves to install heat pumps promise a pathway towards sustainability and electrification of the built environment. This aligns with Washington’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 95% by 2050.

Financing Heat Pump Installations 

The upfront cost of heat pumps can be a concern for those wanting to use electric heating. However, the Inflation Reduction Act provides subsidies and tax credits for those wishing to install heat pumps to improve building energy efficiency. The IRA allows a tax credit of 30% of the cost of the purchase and installation of a heat pump (up to $2,000) for those who install high-efficiency heat pumps in their homes.

In addition, the IRA provides a rebate for those earning up to 150% of the area median income of up to $8,000 for heat pumps for heating and cooling, as well as $1,750 for heat pumps for water heating. And as a further benefit to the consumer, the Department of Commerce estimates that Washingtonians save $1,000 per year over the equipment’s lifetime due to the lower cost of electricity. Overall, there are numerous financial incentives for installing heat pumps in homes.

Nationwide Pushes for Heat Pumps 

The built environment is becoming increasingly electrified to replace existing fossil fuel heating systems. In conjunction with this, there are moves across the country to mandate heat pump use in new construction. 

However, in an unfortunate turn, these heat pump mandates have become a politicized issue, with some states moving towards adopting them and others outright banning them. New Jersey’s senate has prohibited rules and regulations that mandate the use of electric heating systems as the primary means of building heating. On the other hand, New York’s Climate Action Council has proposed prohibiting the installation of propane, gas, and oil heating sources in new construction from 2024 and prohibiting the replacement of this non-electric heating equipment after 2030. 

Ultimately, while we could see heat pump mandates emerge across the country, there is also likely to be pushback in some areas. Regardless of mandates, heat pumps remain an efficient, sustainable alternative to fossil fuel heating.
Need help evaluating heat pumps for your property? Want to discuss other ways to take advantage of the IRA for your sustainability efforts? Give us a call or fill out our contact form for a consultation.