University of Maryland, College Park

To undertake a multidisciplinary study to assess the costs and benefits of installing electric heat pumps

  • Amount $300,000
  • City College Park, MD
  • Investigator Yueming (Lucy) Qiu
  • Year 2019
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

Most home heating systems involve burning natural gas or oil. However, a less carbon-intensive technology is becoming more readily available: electric heat pumps. Heat pumps can provide heating services through interchanges with the ambient air or from the ground. Heat pumps have become increasingly more efficient than conventional oil or gas systems, with the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This grant funds a multi-institutional project led by economist Yueming Lucy Qiu at the University of Maryland, College Park, engineer Parth Vaishnav at Carnegie Mellon University, and economist Pengfei Liu at the University of Rhode Island that will examine the economic and engineering tradeoffs associated with heat pump installation. Qiu and her team have procured access to a detailed dataset drawn from Zillow, the popular real estate website, that contains records on nearly four million homes with heat pumps installed, the most extensive dataset on heat pumps that is readily available. Analyzing the Zillow data, Qiu and her team will examine how heat pump installation impacts home property values and how federal, state, and local incentive policies impact consumer decisions to install heat pumps. The team plans to produce a number of academic articles on these topics for both social science and engineering journals, and the dataset will be made available for other scholars for their own analyses.

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