Tuesday September 5, 2023

Things Are Heating Up: International Lessons for Heat Pump Adoption

Presented with:

What can Canada learn from global experiences in heat pump adoption? Building energy experts Jan Rosenow, Director of European Programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project and Nate Adams, CEO of the U.S.-based HVAC 2.0, summarized international best practices and lessons learned around accelerating heat pump adoption to decarbonize buildings.

Co-hosted by The Transition Accelerator and the Building Decarbonization Alliance, this webinar explores what Canada can learn from international success stories as we move to electrify Canada’s vast building stock.

Webinar Summary

  • A record three million heat pumps were sold across Europe in 2022 — a nearly 40% increase in sales from 2021. Driven partly by the European energy crisis, Nordic countries like Finland, Norway, Sweden and Estonia have seen the highest growth rates in heat pump installation as a high-efficiency, low-cost source of heat, says energy expert Jan Rosenow.
  • Heat pump adoption in Europe varies by country but is largely constrained by workforce and availability of components like semiconductors, not consumer demand.
  • Meanwhile, in the U.S., heat pumps are sold as often as furnaces but are still trailing behind air conditioner sales. According to HVAC expert Nate Adams, the U.S. is not on the path to building decarbonization until all one-way air conditioners are converted to two-way heat pumps. Buy-in from homeowners and contractors matters above all else for residential electrification, adds Adams, who says that both parties need to be on board for heat pumps to take off at the scale needed.
  • Experts all agreed that heat pump adoption is a “psychological battle” more than a technical one. “I was told heat pumps don’t work” is a common myth from U.S. homeowners. Clarity from the industry and buy-in from both homeowners and contractors is central to bridging the gap between early and mass adoption and making the transition to heat pumps a success.



Nate Adams, HVAC 2.0

“The Church of the Kitchen Table is really critical. The homeowner and the contractor need to matter above everyone else… What we find is most useful in being at the kitchen table is helping understand what comfort problems clients have and what indoor air quality or health issues they have in their homes. And we give them options to solve those problems that involve the heat pump because they really should.”


“We need just a little bit of mindset training more than anything…This is a psychological battle, much more so than it is a technical one. This is not taking a choice away — this is adding a heating fuel choice, but I would prefer that air conditioners just aren’t on the shelves anymore.”

Jan Rosenow, Regulatory Assistance Project

“Many people being trained are former oil and gas system installers. There’s lots of momentum, but it takes time. My view has always been, that once there is clarity where things are moving, then the industry will invest in the training. If there’s no clarity, then it’s kind of a chicken and egg problem.”


Natasha Reid

Natasha Kettle

Director of Analytics and Insights – Building Decarbonization Alliance

Natasha holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is a registered Professional Engineer with PEGNL. She started her career as an electrical design engineer, working with two Canadian utility companies: BC Hydro and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. In 2019, Natasha joined a local tech start-up, Mysa Smart Thermostats. As the Product Manager for Utility Initiatives, she worked with utilities across North America to help integrate smart technology into their grids.

In 2021, Natasha moved to France, where she pursued her Master’s degree in Global Energy Transition and Governance at Centre International de Formation Européenne. Her thesis focused on how Canada can unlock demand-side potential through residential demand response. Natasha is a passionate advocate for environmental conservation and sustainability and sits on both the Smart Grid Innovation Network Board of Directors and the Newfoundland and Labrador Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Advisory Council.



Dr. Jan Rosenow

Jan Rosenow, PhD

Director of European Programmes, Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP)

As the director of European programmes, Dr. Jan Rosenow leads RAP’s initiatives in Europe on power market design and Efficiency First. He is responsible for all aspects of leadership, management, and financial viability of RAP’s work in Europe. Dr. Rosenow serves on the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency’s demand-side management program and sits on the board of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. He has also advised the International Energy Agency, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), government departments in a number of countries, and the UK’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, as well as serving as an expert witness on several occasions to the British Parliament. He was the lead author of the International Energy Agency’s global assessment of market-based instruments for energy efficiency.
Dr. Rosenow also has a strong track record in energy research. He is an honorary research associate at Oxford University’s renowned Environmental Change Institute. He has authored more than 70 publications in the form of peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, and conference papers. He has also served as an expert witness to the House of Commons.In 2020, Dr. Rosenow was elected to be a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in light of his “longstanding dedication to moving the UK towards a more sustainable and resilient energy future.” Prior to his engagement with RAP, he worked closely with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy through his policy work for the global consultancy Ricardo. Dr. Rosenow earned several post-graduate qualifications, including a master’s degree in environmental policy and regulation from the London School of Economics and a doctorate from Oxford University.

Nate Adams

Nate Adams


Nate “The House Whisperer” Adams is the author of The Home Comfort Book and has helped numerous clients make their homes healthier, more comfortable, and able to run on clean electricity. He and his partners have adapted that upgrade process into the HVAC 2.0 program which gives HVAC contractors a business model to deliver the same results for their clients while enjoying their work more and being more profitable.

His focus on residential electrification retrofits earned him the moniker “The Father of Electrify Everything” from Panama Bartolomy, CEO of the Building Decarbonization Coalition. He splits his time between living on the Cuyahoga River in Hiram Ohio and in a former West Virginia coal mining village with his wife and young daughter.



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