Advanced Water Heating Initiative August Newsletter

The Advanced Water Heating InitiativeTM (AWHI) is working to move heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) rapidly into the market. HPWHs are an advanced technology that is highly energy efficient, can be grid-integrated, and delivers significant emissions reductions. Learn more about how to participate.

Upcoming AWHI all stakeholder meeting

Join us on Thursday, August 26, at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific) for the next full stakeholder meeting. This meeting is for all members and individuals that are involved in AWHI in any capacity or associated with other industry stakeholders. This group meets to inform and update the full group on AWHI’s key activities and roadmap. RSVP for the meeting by sending us an email at [email protected].

Working groups tackle market barriers

AWHI currently has four active working groups, comprised of market experts, that are tackling the barriers preventing growth in the market share of HPWHs. As part of the national expansion, the scope of these groups, which started out as a West Coast initiative, is being scaled to create other regional collaboratives across the U.S. We had a chance to sit down with the leads to ask them about their efforts and goals around coordinating research, developing technology, engaging manufacturers, providing education, and supporting policy makers and efficiency program administrators. We asked each working group lead three critical questions:

Q1. What is this working group’s focus and goal? 

Residential 240V
Working Group Lead: Owen Howlett, Customer Experience Strategist, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

A 1. This group is working to swiftly increase the installation of 240V HPWHs in single family applications, as well as in the in-unit multifamily applications. Since this technology has existed in the market for years, the focus is on building market confidence, demand, and pulling together information on best practices for the supply chain, consumers, and utility programs. These efforts are focused first on the West Coast and will be rolled out nationally. The group’s goal is that 100% of the residential market share is HPWHs by 2030.

Residential 120V
Working Group Lead: Jim Lutz, Hot Water Efficiency Researcher, Hot Water Research.

A 1. The focus for this working group is on HPWHs that can easily plug into existing 120-volt electrical outlets in homes. We know that this technology has tremendous potential to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, compared to conventional gas-fired water heaters. In the California residential sector where they have mild temperatures, heating water for showers and other domestic uses is the largest use of energy in the average home—before space heating. A field trial will start soon to get independent verification that 120V HPWHs can easily and efficiently deliver the hot water that people want and reduce their carbon footprint.

Working Group Lead: Keshmira McVey, Program Manager Emerging Technologies, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

A 1. The goal for this working group is that by 2026, commercial heat pump water heaters are the product of choice in 90% of new multifamily construction. This market transformation approach focuses on competitive product pricing, developing plug-and-play HPWH systems, and market engagement. The fully packaged, skid mounted, plug-and-play systems will be easier to install; provide load shifting for grid flexibility; and use low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.

Grid Connectivity
Working Group Lead: Geoff Wickes, Senior Product Manager, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA).

A 1. This working group is focused on HPWHs’ capability to react to demand response signals and time-of-use schedules from electricity grid operators. This will enable the integration of more renewables in a cost-effective fashion without impacting the experience of the appliance for the customer. The group points to an open-source standard (CTA 2045) that supports three key elements of a communication path: 1) physical layer (the plug); 2) communication layer (language and handshaking); and 3) the command layer (commands that Smart Water Heaters respond to and control their operation).

Read the full Q&A

Field study examines potential for retrofit-ready 120V HPWH technology

Retrofit-ready 120V heat pump water heaters will be a gamechanger for scaling heat pump water heater replacements as they provide the benefits of HPWHs but avoid the need for electrical panel upgrades or renovations. A new study is working on field validation of the new plug-in 120V technology and intends to verify the energy performance of these units in homes, as well as user satisfaction, and installer experience. The goal is to advance market commercialization and promote this emerging technology. This study will enable 120V HPWH to be independently verified in the field for inclusion in utility programs.

Host utility partners (PG&E, SCE and SMUD) and manufacturers (A.O. Smith, GE, Nyle, and Rheem) are finalizing participant site selection criteria and working with the project team to finalize the data collection and monitoring plan. In the coming weeks, the project technical advisory group will develop surveys for study participants and installers. To learn more visit

For more information on engaging with this study, please email us at [email protected].

Thank you to our current sponsors!

We invite your organization to join these AWHI sponsors in helping support and guide this national market transformation effort.

Sign up here to find out more or contact us by email to discuss sponsorship options.

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