This research draws on information gathered from multiple sources, including academic and industry literature, public databases, media and websites, technology assessments, and in-depth interviews with utility program managers.

California has identified heat pumps as a cornerstone technology in its journey toward decarbonization. The state has set an ambitious target of six million heat pump installations by 2030. To achieve this goal demands a significant boost in adoption rates, and UC Davis researchers are leading the way in this effort. 


EEI Market Transformation Research Director Sarah Outcault presented this month to the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy a paper that explores factors influencing adoption of residential air source heat pumps across different regions of the United States. Significant barriers – such as high initial cost – were identified, underscoring the importance of targeted interventions to promote adoption like financial incentives and simplifying installation. 


Researchers assessed various technology characteristics influencing the uptake of air source heat pumps, revealing insights into their economic feasibility, technical compatibility, and environmental impacts relative to gas furnaces. 


For more information, view the full paper and the presentation online.

Complementing this effort, a recently published report led by Outcault and her team delves into innovative programs and strategies from across the United States and the globe that aim to overcome these adoption hurdles. By utilizing a multi-method approach, including data mining and surveys, the research identifies key factors that can impede adoption and provides valuable insights for program implementers in California.


The findings are documented in case studies that highlight successful strategies and create a searchable database for program implementers. This database enables stakeholders to tailor their approaches to specific geographic, economic, and demographic contexts within California. By promoting the benefits of heat pumps—such as increased property value, improved indoor air quality, and enhanced thermal comfort—these innovative programs aim to accelerate the adoption of this pivotal technology. 


View the full report and searchable database online.


This important research underscores the multifaceted nature of promoting residential heat pumps, providing a view of the challenges hindering widespread adoption while offering actionable insights into effective strategies. The research enables stakeholders to leverage targeted interventions to mitigate adoption barriers and enhance the appeal of heat pump technologies.