Heat Pump Economics for a Smarter Grid

September 22, 2020
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
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Course Description

Heat pumps have grown in popularity in recent years and are now used to heat over 12 million U.S. homes. While air source heat pumps can provide outstanding performance at high ambient temperatures, their efficiency and capacity both degrade at low ambient temperatures when heating demand is highest. In the first part of the talk, we present original research that suggests that in most of the U.S. it is prudent to replace an air conditioner at the end of its life with a heat pump, operating it in tandem with an existing furnace. We also assess the emission implications of such a conversion and determine the electricity prices below which a homeowner will break even over the investment’s lifetime. In the second part of the talk, we discuss the economics of electric utilities as they relate to electric heating and distributed energy resources more broadly. This will allow us to establish the need for novel electric tariffs that incentivize efficient use of the grid.

  • Why electrify heating? 10 min
  • Presentation of original research on dual fuel heat pumps: 20 min
  • Utility economics and design of electric retail tariffs: 20 min
  • Q&A: 10 min


Assessment of Learning:

  • What are the potential emissions benefits of electric heating?
  • What are the particular advantages of dual fuel heating?
  • How are residential electric tariffs designed today?
  • How can novel tariff design be used to promote more efficient adoption of electric heating and distributed energy resources?


Speaker Bio

Noah Rauschkolb is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sustainable Engineering Lab at Columbia University. His dissertation focuses on how the design of electric tariffs can be used to promote efficient adoption and operation of distributed energy resources. Before starting his Ph.D., Noah worked as a building systems engineer at Arup, where he contributed to the designs for a number of district energy and green building projects