First off, a heat pump looks like an air conditioning unit on the outside of buildings. It works sort of like a fridge in reverse, utilizing electricity to extract energy from the outside air and provide heating for homes and hot water.

There are also heat pumps that draw energy from the ground or water.

Because they are extracting heat from the environment – which they can do even at low outside temperatures – they produce around three times the energy they use, making them much more efficient than a gas boiler.

Researchers discovered that wider installation of residential heat pumps for space heating could even lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Research Letters published results stating that heat pumps could reduce emissions for two-thirds of households and financially benefit over a third of U.S. homeowners.

In addition, heat pumps could benefit your home in the following ways:

  • They operate quietly
  • They have the ability to improve your indoor air quality
  • They're more energy-efficient 

“The key finding is that for around a third of the single-family homes in the U.S. if you installed the heat pump, you would reduce environmental and health damages,” said Parth Vaishnav, an assistant professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability.