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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


High-Efficiency Heat Pumps

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  • This article examines the implementation of high-efficiency heat pumps as a climate solution, conventional heating methods that they can replace, and how much increased adoption of them can reduce CO2 equivalent emissions.
  • Students will learn the financial implications, reduced carbon emissions, and implementation scenarios associated with high-efficiency heat pumps.
Teaching Tips


  • This article is well-rounded and considers many factors, including acknowledging that heat pumps can be expensive.
  • This article provides information on what makes a heat pump "high-efficiency."

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may benefit students to know about latent heat and refrigerants.
  • Students should understand climate change and how typical HVAC systems contribute to climate change.


  • Students can use this article and other building-related solutions, either linked in the reading or found on the Table of Solutions, for an informative essay on different methods of residential decarbonization.
  • To assess prior knowledge, the teacher can ask the class how they heat their homes before reading the article.
  • This article can enhance a classroom discussion on how governments could increase the adoption of high-efficiency heat pumps.
  • This article can support a lesson on the mechanical differences between heat pumps and conventional air conditioning systems.
Scientist Notes
This resource provides a detailed analysis of high efficiency heat pumps and how they could replace coal, gas, and oil boilers, low efficient air conditioners, electric resistance heaters and conventional HVAC systems. There is a growing demand for adopting this technology as the most suitable measure to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Datasets used in modeling the different scenarios and pathways have been verified, and this resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.CI.11–12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of an informational text and analyze how they are developed and refined over the course of a text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex account or analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
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