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Cut Home Emissions by Half with an Affordable Heat Pump Water Heater

Nonprofit solar installer SunWork is expanding its services to include installation of ultra-high-efficiency electric heat pump water heaters to replace fossil-fuel-burning natural gas water heaters in Bay Area homes. SunWork’s new heat pump water heater installation program leverages SunWork’s volunteer model and newly available rebates to make installing a heat pump water heater as affordable as the traditional gas water heater being replaced. 

Heat pump water heaters use heat pump technology to efficiently heat water. They have a much lower carbon footprint than gas water heaters including once popular tankless water heaters. According to Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), “gas water heaters are typically a home’s single biggest source of emissions that are damaging to air quality and the environment.” SVCE found that in the Bay Area, greenhouse gas emissions from gas water heaters average 49% of total household emissions. So replacing a gas water heater with a heat pump water heater can reduce a Bay Area homeowner’s carbon footprint by about half (depending on how much hot water the household typically uses).

Volunteers installing heat pump water heater

 

What makes a heat pump water heater so efficient?

Heat pump water heaters work like a refrigerator in reverse by taking heat out of the air, raising its temperature, and then applying the heat to the water in the tank. Unlike conventional water heaters that apply an energy source like gas or electricity to heat water directly, a heat pump water heater collects and concentrates existing heat from the surrounding environment. This makes heat pump water heaters up to four times more efficient compared to traditional water heaters.

By replacing a natural gas water heater with a heat pump water heater, you eliminate a major source of carbon emissions and dangerous exhaust fumes in the home. In addition, since a heat pump water heater runs on electricity, it pairs well with a solar PV system. For homeowners who already have a solar system installed, a new heat pump water heater can potentially be powered by surplus electricity already being generated. Homeowners planning to go solar should plan to include just one or two additional solar panels to provide enough electricity for their heat pump water heater. SunWork can help new customers plan for these electrification improvements.

SunWork nonprofit model plus new rebates keep costs affordable

SunWork keeps installation costs affordable for homeowners using its proven nonprofit model. SunWork’s professional project team gets help from trained volunteers who want to learn more about clean technology and serve their communities by helping others to minimize their carbon footprint. SunWork will be installing Rheem’s Ruud Ultra Hybrid Series 65-gallon or 80-gallon water heaters. The new TECH Clean California rebate decreases costs by $1,000 for most Bay Area homeowners. Existing local rebates plus the $300 federal tax credit further reduce costs. SunWork manages and collects the applicable rebates for customers. Total project costs including materials, installation, and building permits start as low as $1,100 for the 65-gallon water heater after rebates and the $300 federal tax credit. This low starting cost rivals the cost of installing a traditional gas water heater in the Bay Area. By keeping out-of-pocket costs as low as costs for installing a new fossil-fuel-based water heater, SunWork helps people more easily make the shift to heat pump technology.

Who is eligible for a heat pump water heater from SunWork?

The new SunWork heat pump water heater program is open to customers in the Bay Area who currently heat their water with a gas water heater which is located in their garage (and with an electric service panel located in the garage as well). SunWork is providing a full heat pump water heater installation service, including the electrical work, plumbing connections, and permitting. SunWork will not require a specific electricity bill maximum or any income-related qualification criteria for this new program. 

How to get more information

Learn more about SunWork’s Heat Pump Water Heater Installation Service in the program overview. To find out if you qualify and to receive an estimate, send an email including your phone number and street address to HPWH@sunwork.org.

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