Green Mountain Power will hold a Heat Pump Summit Thursday as
the company begins to explore the possibility of a heat pump pilot
program in the city of Rutland.
"Ductless air-source heat pumps may have significant benefits in
reducing Vermonters' heating costs and Vermont's reliance on
foreign oil," said Mary Powell, president and CEO of GMP.
"The summit is planned as an important early step in investigating
their functionality, costs of operation and potential deployment
strategies, which could create jobs for Vermont companies and
Air-source heat pumps, also known as mini-split heat pumps, work
much like a refrigerator to move heat from one area to another.
Even with low temperatures outside, heat pumps can capture the heat
in the air to warm a home or business, and automatically reverse
the process in the summer to cool interior spaces like a typical
"Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps
can provide up to four times the amount of energy they consume,"
according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Heat pumps have traditionally been used in areas with moderate
climates, but improving technologies may make heat pumps a valuable
option for people in cooler climates like Vermont. Ductless heat
pumps are best used to displace much of the fuel use of an existing
heating system with low cost, clean electricity.
"We already know of a handful of customers who are using heat
pumps to heat both water and interior spaces, and they report that
they are saving substantially on their heating costs, while
improving comfort," said Steve Costello, GMP's vice president for
generation and energy innovation. "We think there is
tremendous potential for air-source heat pumps, and the summit will
help us and others learn as much as possible about their
capabilities in a relatively short time."
Thirty heat pump water heaters are being tested in the Rutland
area as part of the GMP Smart Power program. Early results indicate
substantial savings to customers. Heat pump water heaters need to
be indoors in Vermont and are best suited to unheated basements to
draw energy from the ground outside and to dehumidify the
Manufacturers' representatives, potential installers, lenders,
local distributors and weatherization and efficiency experts will
meet in the Franklin Conference Room at the Howe Center at One
Scale Avenue in Rutland on Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"The goal of the Heat Pump Summit is to facilitate a forum for
learning and start a conversation about the value proposition for
our customers and how the equipment can be effectively deployed,"
Costello said. "Toward this end, we want to learn from, and share
ideas with, vendors and installers already working in this nascent
but expanding field."
The summit is part of GMP's Energy Innovation Center's ongoing
effort to investigate and develop new technologies, customer
programs and renewable energy, and make Rutland the center of
transformative energy development in Vermont. "We hope to
help initiate a broad and enduring phase of transformation and
revitalization for Rutland and our valued customers - and create a
model for other communities to emulate," Costello said.
GMP is in the early development stages for the new Energy
Innovation Center in downtown Rutland, and is developing concepts
for future customer programs related to electric vehicles, customer
energy management, and renewable energy.