Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Residential Heating Technologies

Speaker: Theresa Pistochini, UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center
Date: 10/15/2020
Time: 10:00am to 11:00am
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Most residential buildings in California are heated and cooled by either a natural gas furnace paired with an air conditioner or an electric heat pump. Many regulatory agencies are pursuing electrification (converting natural gas appliances to electric appliances in new and existing construction) as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions that result from natural gas combustion. Although electric appliances do not emit greenhouse gasses directly, there are emissions embedded in the electricity that powers them.

In this webinar, Theresa will describe the results of a recent study where the Western Cooling Efficiency Center conducted whole-building annual energy simulations to estimate the annual CO2 emissions from different heating systems in residential buildings across the United States. Researchers estimated the change in annual CO2 emissions for replacing a residential natural gas furnace with a heat pump (HP) that used either electric resistance or natural gas for backup heat. Researchers found that in regions of the US where marginal CO2 emissions are high, electrification with HPs may increase overall CO2 emissions and HPs with backup gas heat may have lower emissions compared to all electric HPs. Future investments in renewables on the electricity grid will improve CO2 emissions associated with electric HPs.

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Project Sponsor: Trane Technologies