Advanced Water Heating Initiative

Document / May 8, 2020 / Building Innovation

Water heating has traditionally been provided through gas or electric water heating tanks. There is also a technology that has been evolving to be highly competitive as a low-energy solution to hot water heating – Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH). This proven technology is three to four times as efficient as the common approaches to providing hot water. This collaborative initiative was formed to help increase the production and adoption of HPWHs.

Why address hot water?

Today’s HPWHs deliver abundant hot water at lower operating cost than gas or electric resistance boilers and can provide thermal storage that can benefit utilities in addressing load balancing issues on the electricity grid. Grid-connected and renewable-integrated HPWHs can help shift on-peak energy use to off-peak periods by using daytime renewable peak generation to “load” or heat the water in the tank, and storing the hot water for use when renewables are not available. Smart HPWHs can support greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution reduction efforts by shifting energy consumption to times when the carbon impacts of energy production on the grid are low. They can also lead to indoor and localized air quality improvements by reducing on-site combustion of natural gas.

In addition to the efficiency benefits and resulting reduction in cost to operate, HPWHs are all-electric and support the market and policy trends for building decarbonization. Over 30 US cities currently have all-electric mandates for new construction and another 50 are in review. Climate Action Policies are a cornerstone of both governmental and corporate entities and reducing the use of combustion appliances is a growing strategy for limiting GHG emissions from the built environment.

Heat Pump Water Heaters are the best choice for producing hot water. HPWHs:

  • are a proven technology and market available
  • are significantly more energy efficient and thus cost far less to provide hot water
  • serve as a storage system to offset utility peak demands
  • support climate policies and sustainability objectives

About the Advanced Water Heating Initiative

The Advanced Water Heating Initiative (AWHI) is a collaborative effort of dozens of representatives from organizations working to overcome market barriers and catalyze a transition to a robust heat pump water heater market. The initiative is co-faciliated by:

NBI Logo                                 

The diverse member base and dedicated working groups are working to enable greater penetration of high efficiency, grid-connected HPWHs by addressing market barriers, coordinating research efforts, developing technology roadmaps, educating the market, and advocating for policies. Transformation of this market will support climate goals and reduce operational costs for consumers and grid operators.

AWHI’s Market Transformation Approach

The collaborators on the Advanced Water Heating Initiative range from manufacturers, to efficiency advocates to utilities and others interested in increasing the market share for these products. They are working to build better awareness among consumers and understanding of the product value. In addition, AWHI is helping installers and builders understand the opportunities for specifying HPWHs and is supporting the supply chain to break down the barriers preventing HPWHs from market adoption.

Specific objectives of the AWHI include:

  • Provide alignment in the design, marketing and messaging efforts for a coordinated effort surrounding HPWHs which will assure the manufacturing industry to invest more in this technology.
  • Support utilities with efficiency program offerings. Programs will provide strategic utility investments in heat pump water heating market chain development and program incentives in order to catalyze overall market transformation.
  • Bring all the key stakeholders i.e. policy makers, program administrators, utilities, manufacturers, installers, industry experts, etc. together to share their experience and learn from each other in order to move the market in the same direction.

To achieve these ends, the AWHI consortium has established four working groups that are focused on market deployment of 120V unitary HPWHs, 240V unitary HPWHs, Central HPWHs, and connectivity and controls of all units.

The initiative and the working groups rely on the support and contributions from our members. How can heat pump water heaters support your service territory, project, or jurisdiction? Join the initiative, participate in a working group, or support the initiative directly to help us shape the future of the heat pump water heater market.

Join us!  To learn more, or to join the Advanced Water Heating Initiaitive or a working group, contact Amruta Khanolkar, NBI project manager, at [email protected].  Sign up to get the latest news by email.


Supporters and Members of the Advanced Water Heating Initiative



Association for Energy Affordability

BC Hydro

Beyond Efficiency

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)

Bradford White Water Heaters

Building Decarbonization Coalition

California Energy Commission (CEC)

Carbon Free Silicon Valley

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)


East Bay Community Energy


Efficiency First CA

Energy Solutions

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

GE Appliances

Grasteu Associates

Guttmann & Blaevoet

HTP Comfort Solutions LLC

Hot Water Research

Laars Heating Systems

Larson Energy Research

Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power (LADWP)

New Buildings Institute (NBI)

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA)

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)


Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)

People’s Self Help Housing Corp

Redwood Energy

Repcor Plumbing


Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)


Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Southern California Edison (SCE)



Turnbull Energy