The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new requirements for residential geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), enabling water-to-water geothermal heat pumps to earn the “Energy Star” label for the first time. According to the EPA, this new category of geothermal heat pumps will be up to 45 percent more efficient than conventional pumps.

Geothermal heat pumps use ground temperature air instead of outside air to provide heating, cooling and often water heating. GHPs can be installed in new and existing homes. Because they use the constant temperature of the earth, the EPA says GHPs are among the most efficient heating and cooling technologies currently available in the marketplace.

The EPA worked with industry stakeholders to revise the requirements in response to growing consumer demand for water-to-water geothermal heat pumps. Water-to-water geothermal heat pumps provide heating and cooling and/or water heating to a building using liquid rather than forced air. The new requirements for water-to-water equipment complements existing efficiency and performance requirements for water-to-air and direct geoexchange GHP models. Homeowners who install geothermal heat pumps with the Energy Star label are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit.

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