This state just pulled off an unreal feat to make its homes more energy-efficient: ‘We are setting an example for the nation’

A new initiative in Maine has achieved a “hat trick” of benefits for its residents as the installation of heat pumps surpassed a notable milestone.

The state set a goal in 2019 to install 100,000 heat pumps by 2025, but that target has already been smashed, according to its website. So far, about 104,000 heat pumps have been installed in homes and businesses, breaking the initial goal two years ahead of schedule.

“Our transition to heat pumps is creating good-paying jobs, curbing our reliance on fossil fuels, and cutting costs for Maine families, all while making them more comfortable in their homes — a hat trick for our state,” Governor Janet Mills said at an announcement.

With one sustainable goal attained in unprecedented time, the state has now announced a second — it aims to install another 175,000 in the next four years.

“We are setting an example for the nation,” Governor Mills added.

Maine, which has historically cold temperatures, would perhaps not be assumed as the best location for the technology. A heat pump essentially transfers heat from the air (or, in some cases, the ground) to provide heating, cooling, and hot water to homes and commercial buildings.

But despite wind chills in the state reaching as low as negative-62 degrees in February, according to Fox23, residents who were contacted by Efficiency Maine reported positive experiences with their heat pumps. 

And the heat pumps are even more efficient than typical gas-powered alternatives, leading to significant savings on costs for consumers.

“Heat pumps ranged from 2.2 to 4.5 times more efficient than an EPA Energy Star gas furnace on an annual basis, and in no climate was a heat pump less than 200 percent efficient,” according to RMI.

Furthermore, RMI anticipates that the replacement of gas water heaters with heat pumps would “reduce emissions in every [U.S.] state over the lifetime of the equipment.”

Reducing emissions that lead to global heating and extreme weather events is a key pillar of Maine’s climate policy. The state hopes to reduce heat-trapping pollution by 45% by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

In a statement, White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi praised the efforts made in the state: “Maine is paving the way for states across the country seeking to build a clean energy future that protects our climate and creates good-paying jobs for all Americans.”

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