At a time when Vermont can and should take action to cut the pollution we contribute to worsening climate change, the results of a VPIRG-commissioned study should come as no surprise. Even using the most conservative measures possible (we didn’t, for example, take into account all of the methane pollution that leaks out during the fracking process and along the way when fracked gas is being transported), our research suggests that air source heat pumps will save money and pollution–even when compared to gas.
BENEFITS TO THE INDIVIDUAL
“A partial fuel switch to a cold climate ductless heat pump should be very attractive to consumers. Per BTU of oil or propane displaced, the net present value (NPV) of the net benefits to customers of a ductless heat pump are slightly higher than for the gas fuel switch.”
Even without taking into account the full cost of building out fracked gas infrastructure, the benefits shared by society is higher for a switch to heat pumps than to gas. “Under the societal assessment, the net benefits of the heat pump fuel switch are 1-4% greater than the net benefits of a gas fuel switch.”
Even if we don’t take into account any of the climate-roasting methane that leaks out during the drilling and transportation of fracked gas, heat pumps are better than gas from a pollution perspective. A fuel switch to a cold climate ductless heat pump would also result in greater carbon dioxide emission reductions than a fuel switch to natural gas. As you can see below, the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of heat produced is actually lowest for heat pumps (about 20% lower than for natural gas).