Transitioning to low-carbon energy production is the biggest climate challenge to overcome. Many countries are already looking to adopt clean heating solutions more widely, with the International Energy Agency projecting that by 2045 nearly half of global heating will be done with heat pumps. To ensure speedy uptake, governments are likely to offer subsidies to ensure these energy-efficient options actually make their way into homes and offices.
A new study from Aalto University assesses the impact of heat pumps on energy consumption as well as how heat pumps should be subsidised. These devices run on electricity to warm spaces by efficiently transferring heat from one area to another, cutting buildings' carbon footprints significantly.
'My research shows that a heat pump can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from heating by more than 80 percent. Electrifying heating means we can warm our homes and buildings cleanly. Heat pumps are also truly energy-efficient: they can can produce up to four units of heat for every unit of electricity,' says Jussi Vimpari, a post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University.
In the study, Vimpari compares the prices, rents, heating systems, and emissions from heating, and the percentage of residents' income spent on heating in all residential buildings in eight large Finnish cities, including those in the capital region of Helsinki. In Finland, city buildings are typically heated with oil, district heating, or electricity. Only 15% of heating in the country is currently done with heat pumps.