In the latest push to expand heat pump use, officials of nine Northeast states, including Maine, announced Wednesday they will increase their installation targets to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.

Climate Heat Pump Announcement

A condenser sits on the roof during the installation of a heat pump in Jan. 2023, in Denver. David Zalubowski/Associated Press, file

Environmental officials in California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island have signed an agreement to meet at least 65% of residential-scale heating, air conditioning and water heating shipments by 2030 and 90% by 2040. Shipments measure the number of HVAC and water heating equipment units from manufacturers to retailers, distributors and end users. The states will collaborate to collect market data, track progress and develop a plan within a year to support electrification of residential buildings.

“To achieve our shared decarbonization goals, we need to send an unmistakable signal to the marketplace that zero-emission homes are the future. This agreement does that,” said Matt Rusteika, director of market transformation at the Building Decarbonization Coalition.

The agreement builds on a commitment last September from members of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 24 governors, including Gov. Janet Mills, to quadruple heat pump installations to 20 million by 2030. Maine set a goal of installing 100,000 heat pumps in homes by 2025, which already has been surpassed.

Heat pumps have been used for decades to heat homes, but have become more popular recently as policymakers and the energy industry look for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings that are a major source of carbon. They run on electricity and can be used both to heat and cool buildings and often replace oil or gas furnaces.

The pumps extract heat from outdoor air or underground and transfer it inside – instead of heating a coil in a furnace, for instance. They also cool homes by pulling heat from indoors and dumping it outside or underground.


Buildings are a source of air pollution due to combustion of fossil fuels in furnaces, boilers and water heaters. According to the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, fossil-fueled heating equipment in the participating states emits more than 131,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and 5,900 tons of fine particulate matter, causing increased risk of heart attack, asthma and premature death.

The nine-state agreement emphasizes collaboration with heat pump manufacturers and HVAC installers. Ceres, a nonprofit organization of building equipment manufacturers and others working to improve sustainability, cited a U.N. report that said despite significant increases in investment and innovation, building sector energy consumption and CO2 emissions increased in 2021 above pre-pandemic levels. Ceres said it’s the most recent comprehensive, peer-reviewed study.

Gov. Mills has set an updated target of installing 175,000 more heat pumps in Maine by 2027. The Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed in 2022, will provide more than $71.6 million in home-energy-rebate funding to the state. It will be divided equally between energy efficiency and electrification and appliances, including heat pumps. Both programs will focus on low-income homeowners, who often see the cost of installing heat pumps as an insurmountable barrier.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy announced last year $169 million for nine projects to accelerate electric heat pump manufacturing at 15 sites across the country. The projects were the first awards from DOE’s authorization, invoked by President Biden using emergency authority on the basis of climate change, to cite the Defense Production Act to increase production of five clean energy technologies, including heat pumps.

The others were solar power; transformers and electric grid components; insulation; and oxygen fuel cells, platinum group metals, fuel cells and electrolysers that use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

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