by G.E.T. staff
The October 2016 issue of Green Energy Times had two different articles on heat pumps. Based on the comments we received, we wish to clarify the relationship of heat pumps to fossil fuel consumption.
Heat pumps are highly efficient, in terms of the amount of heat they deliver versus the amount of energy needed to drive them. This is because they move heat rather than making it. Heat pumps absorb heat from a cold space and release it to a warmer one, and this uses less energy than actually creating heat.
The fact that heat pumps operate electrically means that they can have very low carbon footprints, but this is only true if the electricity comes from a renewable source. If a heat pump is powered by coal, however, its carbon footprint will actually be very high.
The most important step to reducing the carbon footprint we have from heating is to eliminate use of fossil fuels. There are a number of ways to do this, even if the power supply we have comes from fossil fuels. While there is new technology for home heating powered by solar thermal power, and liquid and gas bio-fuels are being developed, we can certainly rely on tried-and-true systems, such as wood pellets. Just remember to use locally made fuels and an efficient, clean-burning, modern appliance.