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Cold Climate Heat Pumps


What is a Cold Climate Heat Pump (CCHP)?

A cold climate heat pump is a system that transfers heat from outside to inside a building, or vice versa. The system is split into two or more components – the indoor unit(s) and the outdoor unit. A set of ~1/2" diameter copper tubes connects the two components. Refrigerant flows through the tubes and transfers heat into or out of the building. Manufacturers produce models that can operate throughout a New England winter. These models are referred to as cold climate heat pumps and are eligible for rebates from $400 - $1,450.

From a cooling perspective, a CCHP may cost 40% less to operate than window/portable AC units of equivalent capacity. From a heating perspective, a simple economic analysis of a CCHP and your existing heating system can be accomplished with the calculator below.

NOTE: If you heat your building with natural gas - as most Burlingtonians do - you might not save money with a cold climate Heat Pump (CCHP). If you are considering a CCHP, the best way to improve the comfort of your home or business, and save money, is to call an Energy Specialist at Burlington Electric Department at (802) 865-7300 or e-mail us. We’ll walk you through the decision-making process and help you maximize your energy investments.

Most likely, our first recommendation will be to weatherize your building even more than it is today.

Rebates Available

Download CCHP Rebate Form Qualifying Product List

Is a CCHP right for me?

How well a CCHP will heat and cool your home depends on the number of inside wall units, the floor plan and how well air-sealed and insulated the building is. Typically, CCHPs cannot serve as a full replacement of an existing heating system as they don’t cover all the rooms and may be unable to provide enough heat during extreme cold temperatures.

Field studies show that CCHPs work best in weatherized buildings. In some buildings it makes better sense to weatherize along with the CCHP installation or weatherize only. BED can provide technical assistance to help you evaluate your best options and we have rebates to help with weatherization as well. 

Actual savings can vary considerably for any customer depending on a wide number of variables including:

  • Current per gallon costs of propane or oil.
  • The type of fuel you'd be replacing. For instance, a CCHP system provides strong savings over propane gas at current prices and when looking at the past five-year average. A CCHP system provides little to no savings over oil at current prices but shows stronger savings when looking at the past five-year average. 
  • The combustion efficiency of your current heating system (a range of about 65 to 95%).
  • Amount of displacement of the existing space heating load by the new CCHP system depends on the number of wall units installed, layout of the home, and how the CCHP system is used. 
  • Extent of building weatherization. CCHP will perform better in tighter and well insulated buildings. 
  • The severity of the heating season compared to other years (average temperatures can vary about 5 to 20% between years).
  • Whether the CCHP system displaces a less efficient air conditioning (AC) system, which may result in cooling savings.
  • Whether CCHP provides AC where none was present, thereby increasing costs.

BED's Energy Services Team are here to talk to you about all of your options.

CCHP Energy Savings Calculator

Space heating fuel
Water heating fuel  
Total annual fuel consumption  
Current est. space heating cost  
CCHP installed $
BED Incentive ($ )
Net Cost $ 
How much of your existing heating system will be displaced by your new CCHP?
New estimated space heating cost  
Estimated savings  
Estimated CCHP simple payback