How can US consumers be persuaded to buy more energy-efficient water heaters?


Client: U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

Could expensive hot water heaters that use energy-efficient heat pump technology – popular overseas – be successfully marketed to US consumers?


  • Reviewed all available research on heat pump water heater technology, economics, and consumer attitudes, and conducted extensive interviews with manufacturers, utilities, and energy efficiency organizations.
  • Assessed the economic feasibility of reintroducing heat pump water heaters to US markets, identified the most promising regional markets, ascertained local utility interest in providing rebate incentives and retailer interest in stocking products.
  • Offered policy recommendations for federal action to catalyze the market

US EPA ENERGY STAR program was able to focus its efforts to promote heat pump water heater technology in regional markets where it could flourish, avoiding a more costly and less effective national approach.