To speed the decarbonization of heating and cooling buildings, the U.S. Climate Alliance ‒ a bipartisan coalition of 25 state and territory governors ‒ has committed to quadrupling the number of heat pumps installed inside the represented states to reach 20 million units by 2030.

The alliance did not immediately respond to a query asking if it targeted a heat pump refrigerant type in the commitment or if it planned to promote natural refrigerant heat pumps, including CO2 (R744), ammonia (R717) or hydrocarbons like propane (R290).

In 2019, Julia Cerqueira, then Executive Director of the Alliance, encouraged ATMOsphere America attendees to educate state and federal legislators on the importance of using natural refrigerants in refrigeration to reduce HFC emissions. A number of Alliance states, such as California, Washington and New York, have been proactive in restricting use of HFCs in refrigeration and air-conditioning.

The alliance indicates that buildings make up 30% of all U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says current heat pump models are three-to-five times more energy efficient than gas boilers. 

According to George Oliver, CEO of Johnson Controls International (JCI), electric heat pumps save energy by transferring and magnifying the heat from the water, air, or geothermal sources with little to no GHG emissions, making them a “double win”.

As such, supporting heat pump installations advances the U.S. Climate Alliance’s decarbonization goals, which include “collectively achieving zero-emissions in new construction as soon as practicable and accelerating efforts to eliminate emissions from existing buildings at a pace consistent with targets under the Paris Agreement,” the coalition said, in a press release. Another aim of the commitment is to ensure that “at least 40% of benefits flow to disadvantaged communities.”

“We are in a climate emergency, and the window to act is closing,” said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee at Climate Week, held in New York City September 17‒24. “That’s why we’re taking bold, immediate action by quadrupling heat pump installations by 2030.” 

“Transitioning to heat pumps in Maine is creating good-paying jobs, curbing our carbon emissions, cutting costs for families, and making people more comfortable in their homes,” said Maine Governor Janet Mills. The state met the goal of 100,000 installed heat pumps in 2023 and is on the way to reaching 275,000 installed units by 2027.

“Maine is meeting our climate action goals, and we’re proud to lead the way as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance to encourage other states to do the same,” Mills added.

“Our commitment to bold action to decarbonize the buildings sector proves that when we come together, we can make a greener future more equitable and accessible for all,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

“These bold commitments by governors to cut emissions from buildings will have a catalytic impact across America,” said Ali Zaidi, White House National Climate Advisor. The effort will clean up the air, reduce energy bills, strengthen climate resilience and create “good” paying jobs, he added. Moreover, President Biden’s climate and economic agenda supports needed resources under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The alliance members plan to lead by example through efforts to reduce GHG emissions in state facilities. Other measures agreed to include:

  • Maximizing benefits from IRA and IIJA by identifying opportunities to streamline incentives and educate consumers;
  • Planning for a transition to a zero-emission buildings future;
  • Supporting the development of zero-emission building codes and standards;
  • Supporting the workforce needed for clean energy transition;
  • Pursuing innovative solutions to volatile energy prices and grid reliability; and
  • Accelerating efficient electric retrofits, particularly for low-income families.

Founded in 2017, the U.S. Climate Alliance was formed in response to the U.S.’s plans at that time to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The current 25 states and territories in the coalition represent 55% of the U.S. population and comprise Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

“Our commitment to bold action to decarbonize the buildings sector proves that when we come together, we can make a greener future.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul