Could Residential Heat Pumps be Part of Climate Solution?

Deploying residential heat pumps more widely has the potential to help reduce carbon pollution while also saving homeowners money, according to a new study by the University of Michigan

Heat pumps are widely discussed as tools to help fight climate change. Their study suggests that switching about 30% of single-family homes to heat pumps right now would cut harm to the environment and human health and save households money.

The UK has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 43% compared to 1990. Studies have shown that one of the most promising technologies aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing emissions in the building sector is provided by electric heat pumps.

“Heat pumps offer a modern, low-carbon solution to provide space heating and domestic hot water and are particularly appropriate in countries which have both high heating requirements (in winter) and cooling requirements (in summer).”

Across Europe, there are 11,279,386 heat pumps installed, saving 29.8 million tCO2, producing 116 TWh of renewable energy and providing 60,000 jobs.

How do heat pumps help?

Heat pumps extract heat from the outside air, operating like fridges in reverse. These heat pumps in a residential setting can save more than 2 tonnes of carbon per year, contributing up to 70% less than electric heaters.

“Energy efficiency measures have the potential to deliver the sizeable emissions cuts needed to meet the targets set by the Climate Change Act (UK). Technologies like heat pumps represent low-hanging fruits for both businesses and households in the UK and abroad.”

Energy Efficient

For each kW of electricity consumed by a heat pump, about 4kW of thermal energy is generated. This corresponds to a 300% efficiency.

Comparison with other heating technologies:

  • Condensing gas/oil boiler: 90-96% efficiency
  • Conventional gas/oil boiler: 70-80% efficiency
  • Direct electric heating: 35-45% efficiency


About 75% of the energy that is used is renewable, whereas 25% of the energy is generated by other sources (99% of this is electricity). If the electricity is generated by renewables (PV, wind, hydro), then the heat pump is 100% renewable and CO2-neutral.

They contribute to an annual reduction of 9,16 million tons of CO2 emissions in the EU. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), heat pumps could save 50% of the building sector’s CO2 emissions and 5% of the industrial sector’s. This means that heat pumps could save 1.8 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.

Saving Money

Genesis Energy states that a heat pump’s running costs depend on how long you use it and its energy output. According to, a heat pump used 6 hours per day for six months of the year with an energy output of 6KwH will cost around $400 per year to run.

“Using a heat pump instead of an equivalent electric heater in your living space can save you around $500 a year”

Practical Considerations

Installing heat pumps is almost always beneficial to a household in New Zealand. However, it is important to consider heat pumps in the wider context of energy-efficient homes.

Therefore, a heat pump will be of most benefit to a home where other energy-efficient issues have been addressed. Effective insulation will make a significant difference, as heating only works if the heat can be retained.

What’s more, windows are a significant source of heat loss. So replacing windows with double glazing or adding a “clip-on” secondary glazing system will make a big difference, too.

Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.

We’ll help you choose the best heat pump to install that will suit your needs and budget from the vast range we have available.

We will provide you with a written quote and expert advice with absolutely no obligation.

South AucklandHamilton & Waikato and Tauranga:

0800 864 964


“After checking out several suppliers, we decided to go with Goldstar Heat Pumps (so competitive and able to deliver exactly what we wanted). They came to the house, gave us really useful advice, then turned up when they said they would and did a quick, efficient, clean job.

We are delighted with the whole process.  Goldstar made it really easy, and we now have a great, warm home.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Goldstar Heat Pumps to anyone.”

Annie Andrews