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Electrification of Heat Explainer

There are many options to consider for electrification. Trane experts take a holistic view of a building’s systems to design an electrification plan that meets the owner’s sustainability goals, budget and building requirements.

What is it?

“Electrification of heat” is a building decarbonization strategy that uses HVAC equipment powered by electricity instead of fossil fuels like natural gas, coal or oil to heat buildings.

Why is electrification of heat necessary?

The nation’s power grid is transitioning to carbon-free energy sources, such as solar and wind. The environmental benefits aremaximized when buildings switch from using emissions-producing natural gas heating and hot water systems to innovative and efficient electrified solutions.

Low carbon sources will provide more than half of total electricity generation by 2040.

Buildings account for 38% of global energy-related CO₂ emissions and HVAC accounts for 40% of building energy use.

The replacement of fossil fuel-based heating systems with efficient all-electric technologies will reduce energy use by more than 40% and carbon emissions by more than 75%.


State and local policies are encouraging—even mandating—decarbonization efforts.

92% OF S&P 500 companies have committed to sustainability.

83% of global companies have also made this commitment.

20+


More than 20 states have established mandated decarbonization goals.

45+


More than 45 states have utility incentives for the use of electrified equipment in buildings

141


In the US, 141 cities have committed to 100% clean renewable energy.

How do we do it?

Four key HVAC technologies to support electrification

Heat pumps

Heat pumps are a key enabler for decarbonization because they can use electricity to heat or cool from a single unit.

Heat pumps are up to 3 times more efficient than other forms of electrified heating. 180 million heat pumps were used for heating in 2020

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates heat pumps could satisfy 90% of global heating needs with a lower carbon footprint than gas-fired condensing boilers.


Hybrid systems

These HVAC systems combine gas and electric heating, switching between the two for the highest efficiency based on outdoor conditions.


Heat recovery

One of the most efficient ways to heat is to recover waste heat from other systems and reuse it to heat the building.

An estimated 20 to 50% of industrial energy input is lost as waste heat.


Thermal energy storage

Store and dispatch waste heat like a battery to deliver heating and cooling. Thermal energy storage increases the utilization of renewable energy by up to 50%.15

Electrification: A solution for every building type

 

Chiller-heater systems
Common in many large buildings, electric chillers can also serve as heat pumps or provide heat recovery.

 

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heat pump and heat recovery systems
VRF is an efficient, versatile, all-electric zoned heating and cooling solution. Packaged units and split systemsThese units, with integrated heat pumps, are efficient and effective for many small and mid-sized commercial buildings.

 

Packaged units and split systems
These units, with integrated heat pumps, are efficient and effective for many small and mid-sized commercial buildings.

 

Storage source heat pump systems
Energy storage is typically used as a financial tool to reduce energy costs and can also store energy to be used for heating and cooling .

 

Commercial Domestic Hot Water
A highly efficient, all-electric heat pump water heater system designed to produce high volume domestic hot water (DHW) for commercial facilities.

Trane’s total-system design approach

There are many options to consider for electrification. Trane experts take a holistic view of a building’s systems to design an electrification plan that meets the owner’s sustainability goals, budget and building requirements.

Insights from an Expert: A Discussion on Reducing or Eliminating Fossil Fuels from your HVAC System

In this 3-part Insights from an Expert series, we are exploring the practical solutions Trane can provide to help you take advantage of electrified heating as a mechanism to achieving decarbonization goals.