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These 'coaches' are helping to demystify a revolutionary, money-saving home innovation — and they don't charge a cent

"If we're going to be making this large-scale transition over the next few decades, it's going to take that kind of individual connection."

Heat pump coaches

Photo Credit: iStock

Heat pumps are the hot (and cold) new home appliances. They work by using heat from the ground, air, or water to heat your home, and in the summer months, they can move heat from inside to outside, functioning as an air conditioner.

One reason heat pumps are gaining popularity is that they do all of this in a more energy-efficient way than traditional gas furnaces or AC units, which means they can save users money and are less harmful to the environment.

However, since they are not as widely adopted, consumers don't have a lot of expertise yet when it comes to making the switch to a heat pump. And that's where "heat pump coaches" come into play.

What Is a Heat Pump Coach?

Steve Breit, a retired engineer, co-founded an organization called HeatSmart Alliance that talks people through the process of buying a heat pump. And, even better, his advice is all free of charge.

HeatSmart Alliance is a volunteer organization, and Breit and his 20 fellow volunteer heat pump coaches don't make a penny for their work, according to a report by Canary Media — the coaches are in it for the love of clean energy.

As interest in heat pumps has grown over the past few years, HeatSmart Alliance has been able to help many more people make the switch. In Concord, Massachusetts, Breit and his cohorts helped 24 households in 2021 and 90 in 2022.

Why Are Heat Pumps Important?

As reported by Canary Media, HeatSmart Alliance estimates that households in New England could cut their annual carbon emissions by an average of about 3 metric tons (equivalent to about three transatlantic flights) by switching to heat pumps.

In addition to using a lot less energy, heat pumps may be better for your health, as well. Gas furnaces and boilers can release toxic gas into homes, decreasing air quality and leading to health problems such as childhood asthma.

Heat pump coaches are providing consumers with important information, doing the crucial work of demystifying a new technology, and allowing more people to embrace its benefits without fear.

"Something that really excites me most about this [heat pump coach] program is the opportunity for residents to connect with one another and share their stories," Talia Fox, Arlington, Massachusetts' sustainability manager, told Canary Media. ​"If we're going to be making this large-scale transition over the next few decades, it's going to take that kind of individual connection."

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