2021 Quick Start Grant Recipients

New Buildings Institute

Read about this program and its findings:


New Buildings Institute will enroll 32 sites in a field test of emerging 120V heat pump water heater (HPWH) technology.

Market Barrier

Fuel-switching from gas water heating to a HPWH often triggers expensive and time-consuming electrical upgrades, including panel upgrades and home rewiring when the home is not set up to accommodate a new 240V appliance.  Such upgrades can add thousands of dollars to retrofit costs, and the time and expense required pose significant barriers to fuel-switching, especially when a customer is seeking an emergency water heater replacement.

Proposed Solution

Emerging 120V HPWH technology is a potentially game-changing retrofit solution, as it allows for the usage of existing wall outlets rather than requiring expensive electrical upgrades. NBI will install HPWHs at 32 sites, with at least 12 of them (40%) in low-income households and BIPOC communities. The project will collect field performance data and conduct surveys on customer and installer satisfaction with the new equipment.

Theory of Change

This field study has the potential to provide credibility and financial benefits for plug-in HPWHs, which are poised to break open the HPWH market by removing a critical barrier for heat pump adoption. Lessons learned from this project can advance market commercialization for this technology and provide actionable guidance and education for the building industry, contributing to faster scaling and commercialization of the technology.

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