Many companies and homeowners are placing an increased emphasis on reducing their use of fossil fuels by looking for new ways to use electricity to help them achieve their goals.
This strategy of replacing direct fossil fuel use with electricity in a way that reduces overall emissions and energy costs is called “beneficial electrification.” It’s made possible as utilities, including Great River Energy, continue incorporating more carbon-free sources of energy into their power supply portfolios.
There are many opportunities for beneficial electrification across the residential and commercial sectors, including making the switch to an electric vehicle or an electric heating system — as long as the end-user and environment both benefit from the change.
One home appliance that provides the opportunity to reduce fossil fuel use and replace it with electricity is the heating system. Heat pumps have become increasingly popular as the technology advances to support heating in colder climates.
Like an air conditioner, a heat pump can cool a home. What makes them unique is that they can also provide heat. Unlike other electric heating options, air source heat pumps (ASHPs) do not use electricity to create heat but instead use it to move heat from outdoor air and transfer it indoors. With today’s ASHP technology, this process of moving heat is extremely energy efficient even when it’s cold outside.
According to Rewiring America, a nonprofit advocacy group, heat pumps can achieve more than 300% efficiency, while even the most efficient gas-powered furnaces fall short of 100% efficiency. It is common for homeowners who install an ASHP to save hundreds of dollars per year.
Local electric cooperatives provide incentives for ASHPs throughout the year to help members save energy and money.