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Leading the Decarbonization Transition with Heat Pump Water Heaters

August 5, 2022
decarbonization heat pump water heaters

As governments globally strive to achieve carbon emission reduction targets, decarbonization is a term you’ll hear more often. Decarbonization simply means the act of removing carbon. Similarly, a decarbonized economy is an economy that produces net-zero or carbon-neutral emissions.

Why Carbon Dioxide Matters

Why is it so important that we reduce CO2 emissions and decarbonize the economy? First, let’s understand the carbon cycle and why carbon matters.

The Earth has a naturally occurring carbon cycle that attempts to reach a dynamic equilibrium between the atmosphere and the Earth’s biosphere and oceans. When there is a man-made, unabsorbed surplus in atmospheric CO2, the carbon cycle becomes imbalanced. CO2 is more abundant and stays in the atmosphere longer* than other non-fluorinated greenhouse gasses. Because CO2 radiates heat, the surplus of atmospheric CO2 causes the Earth’s temperature to rise.

Key contributors to the increase in atmospheric CO2 are: the burning of fossil fuels, changes in land use and deforestation. Carbon cycle imbalance has many negative impacts on our environment. For example, there are more frequent record-breaking heat waves and less effective ocean CO2 absorption.

reduce greenhouse gasRaising the Bar on Global Decarbonization

Although the imbalance in our Earth’s carbon cycle began with the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, today’s increase in industrial processes, global population and unsustainable practices have accelerated the impact of atmospheric CO2.

At Rheem®, we understand that our products impact the environment and we’re taking bold steps to minimize that impact. As part of our sustainability strategy, we are designing for decarbonization with a goal of releasing a line of water heating products by 2025 that together boast a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, we offer a selection of heat pump, electric and condensing gas water heaters that help meet efficiency standards without compromising comfort.

Decarbonize with Heat Pump Water Heaters

In an effort to achieve decarbonization goals, many cities are implementing natural gas bans and strict building efficiency requirements making heat pumps the only option for water heating. Rheem’s high efficiency heat pump water heaters are the best solutions for efficiency and carbon emission reduction by dramatically reducing your energy use.

One of the smartest, most efficient water heaters on the market is the Rheem ProTerra® Hybrid Electric Heat Pump with LeakGuard™. ProTerra is unique because its heat pump technology pulls heat energy from the air to heat water. It uses up to 75% less energy compared to a standard electric water heater1 and less energy than a classic 100-Watt incandescent lightbulb2. It also allows time-of-use scheduling and energy usage tracking through built-in EcoNet that connects directly to your mobile phone. For even more energy savings, Hybrid Electric is demand response ready and easily connects to utility programs.

The newest additions to the heat pump family are the 120-volt Rheem ProTerra Plug-in Heat Pump Water Heaters. They have up to five times the efficiency3 and up to an 80% reduction in energy use4 compared to a standard gas water heater. The install is quick and easy with minimal clearance. The Plug-in shared circuit models are also demand response ready, easily connecting to utility programs for more energy cost savings. In addition, Plug-in dedicated circuit models deliver the fastest heat pump water heater recovery on the market and, like all ProTerra models, allow complete control of your water heater all from a smartphone.

sustainability training plumbersInforming the Industry Through Training

Through training and support on our product suite, Rheem makes it easier for plumbers and contractors to recommend and install sustainable solutions and to positively impact decarbonization efforts. We strive to empower plumbers to be next-generation thinkers and responsible stewards of our industry, community and environment. Our comprehensive trainings are held in our Innovation Learning Centers (ILCs) or online.

Stay Tuned

Look out for what’s next on our blog as we cover more topics about decarbonization.

Overview of Greenhouse Gases | US EPA

*Atmospheric CO2 is part of the global carbon cycle, and therefore its fate is a complex function of geochemical and biological processes. Some of the excess carbon dioxide will be absorbed quickly (for example, by the ocean surface), but some will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years, due in part to the very slow process by which carbon is transferred to ocean sediments. 1Based on comparison of 50-gallon Rheem hybrid electric and standard electric tank with minimum efficiency. 2Based on comparison of the annual operating cost of a 40- and 50-gallon Rheem hybrid electric model which assumes the unit is on constantly throughout the year against the energy needed to power a single 100-Watt incandescent light bulb constantly for one year. 3 Based on comparison of 40, 50, 65 and 80 gallon Rheem ProTerra Heat Pump water heaters and standard gas ULN water heaters of similar capacity and minimum efficiency. 4Based on comparison of 40, 50, 65 and 80 gallon Rheem ProTerra Heat Pump water heaters and standard gas ULN water heaters of similar capacity and minimum efficiency.

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