It’s that time of year again. Time to make a few set-in-stone, unbreakable, do-good, self-improvement, save-the-world promises to yourself and those around you, maybe even to your community or the greater world at large.
These annual resolutions can be agonizing, especially when they reach beyond yourself. 2022 will make this process no easier as your pals at our local climate and energy nonprofits are strongly suggesting that at least one of your 2022 resolutions should address climate and energy concerns. The challenge – do you buy an electric car, or do you buy an air source heat pump? Which is better when it comes to climate and energy?
Yes, we know. This is not an easy decision! We can see you now, furrowed brow, hand on chin, analysis paralysis looming. Still, you want 2022 to be your year! Time’s up and it’s time for action! You’ve done some homework and you’re ready to be a part of the solution. No more of those silly ’50 crunches a day’, or ‘cut back on sugar’, or ‘cancel one TV streaming service’ type of resolution, you tell your family and friends.
We at both Renewable Juneau (RJ) and Alaska Heat Smart (AHS) have taken a deep dive into this first world conundrum and have some interesting data for you. We’ll share our findings further down in this romp, but first, the question your grappling with…
Should you tie up the ole fossil fuel horse
and purchase an electric car (ev)?
lose the fossil fuel heat and start heating your home
with a clean and efficient heat pump (ashp)?
It’s a tough choice with no lack of information to wade through. Both of these new tech wonders are just foreign enough to sit just outside of our comfort zones. One makes a charismatic and attractive first impression, where the other comes across as low key, proud and steadfast, but not really all that thrilling. A short list of pros for each could read like this:
Be one of the cool kids
Fun to drive
Costs a lot less
Adds home value
No need for oil tank
Offers AC on those rare days
We obviously need data. These lists are helpful, but they lack the numbers, charts, and graphs that are required in order to nail down this critical 2022 resolution. We need financial details, carbon impacts, and the real world energy load and carbon footprint information that will point us in the right direction.
Luckily, behind the scenes at AHS lives the Cold Climate Housing and Research Center’s energy and heat pump calculator. AHS energy experts have tweaked this northern tool for Juneau’s ‘southern’ climate. When home and energy utility data are input, detailed home energy information is output. This is the bulk of the magic that happens behind the scenes when AHS assesses a local home for its suitability for a heat pump. It wasn’t much of a lift for AHS’ chief energy assessor (no names here, but Bob Deering comes to mind), to perform a few quick calculator modifications in order to bring electric cars into the equation.
The question now before the calculator is,
“Which device offers the biggest bang for the buck when considering carbon footprint reduction – the electric car or the heat pump?”
If you care to crawl around in the data weeds on this issue, our friends at Alaska Heat Smart have placed the ‘study’ in a follow up blog. You can read all about how our conclusion was reached and what the specific numbers are HERE.
Our conclusion? Installing an air source heat pump in your oil-heated home can have a greater effect on shrinking your carbon footprint then buying that sexy new electric car!
Investing in the heat pump will eliminate nearly double the amount of CO2 emissions as an EV, and it will save you money every year as well! If your New Year’s resolution is to reduce your CO2 emissions, it’s no contest – install a heat pump.
In reality, making such a decision isn’t so black and white. There’s a bit more nuance in choosing, of course. If your current gas car is on its last legs and you have to buy one anyway, then obviously you should consider an EV first. Same goes with a failing oil boiler, Toyo, or furnace. Or, in the case where your existing car is worth more than a used Leaf for instance, you could actually pocket a bit of money (and buy a heat pump with it)!
The heat pump market and technology are mature. There are a wide range of heat pumps that are suitable for houses in Juneau. The technology is proven in our climate and reliable. Yes, you may need back up when the temps really drop, but for the bulk of the year, tried and tested. And, there are numerous local companies capable of supplying, installing, and servicing heat pumps. On the other hand, the EV market still has a ways to go. The next few years will usher in some remarkable vehicles –longer range, all wheel drive, small trucks and vans, faster charge times, a greater array of public charging options, and more.
In closing, if you can only make one large purchase, should you buy the heat pump now and hold out for the $35,000 Subaru AWD EV? We believe so! If you have the means to move on both, indeed, double up and stomp your carbon footprint!
Again, you can read all the amazing behind-the-scenes details about how our conclusion was reached HERE.
Do you want to know if a heat pump can fit into your home’s heating mix? Have you received a free Alaska Heat Smart home heat pump assessment?
Apply here! It’s FREE, easy, and provides you with a wealth of potential money-saving information!
And, if you already have a heat pump and its humming along and doing its best to keep this chilly weather away, here is a list of some of the upcoming electric vehicle offerings for you to drool over.
Toyota? Subaru? Rivian? Mustang?
No lack of choices!
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