Heat pumps

Heat pumps, powered by low-emissions electricity, are the central technology in the global transition to secure and sustainable heating.

Photo shows three heat pumps on a blue background

Key findings

Annual growth in sales of heat pumps in buildings worldwide and in selected markets, 2021 and 2022


Global heat pump sales continue double-digit growth

Global sales of heat pumps grew by 11% in 2022, according to the latest IEA analysis, marking a second year of double-digit growth for the central technology in the world’s transition to secure and sustainable heating. Increased policy support and incentives for heat pumps in light of high natural gas prices and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were key drivers behind the strong uptake.

In Europe, heat pumps enjoyed a record year, with sales growing by nearly 40%. In particular, sales of air-to-water models, which are compatible with typical radiators and underfloor heating systems, jumped by almost 50% in Europe. In the United States, heat pump purchases exceeded those of gas furnaces, while in China, the world’s largest heat pump market, sales remained stable.

Heat pump capacity in buildings by country and region in the Announced Pledges Scenario, 2021-2030


Heat pumps are a proven way to provide secure and sustainable heating

Heat pumps, powered by low-emissions electricity, are the central technology in the global transition to secure and sustainable heating. The Future of Heat Pumps, a special report in the IEA’s World Energy Outlook series, provides an outlook for heat pumps, identifying key opportunities to accelerate their deployment. It also highlights the major barriers and policy solutions, and explores the implications of an accelerated uptake of heat pumps for energy security, consumers’ energy bills, employment and efforts to tackle climate change.

Around 10% of space heating needs globally were met by heat pumps in 2021, but the pace of installation is growing rapidly with sales at record levels. Government policy support is needed, though, to help consumers overcome heat pumps’ higher upfront costs relative to alternatives. Financial incentives for heat pumps are already available in over 30 countries, which together cover more than 70% of heating demand today. The IEA estimates heat pumps globally have the potential to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 500 million tonnes in 2030 – equal to the annual CO2 emissions of all cars in Europe today.

Increase in heat pumps sales in selected regions, 2021 relative to 2020


Policy support for heat pumps is increasing rapidly to meet decarbonisation ambitions, more effort needed to reach NZE goals

In 2021, record high growth in heat pumps sales was registered in particular in Europe, China and the United States; 2022 is also showing early signs of positive growth despite challenges in supply chains. Part of the deployment is also driven by a growing space cooling demand met with reversible heat pumps.

Heat pumps still meet only around 10% of the global heating need in buildings though, below the deployment level required to get on track with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. In this scenario, heat pumps cover at least 20% of global heating needs by 2030. Further policy support and technical innovation are needed, in particular to reduce upfront purchase and installation costs, remove market barriers to complex renovations, improve energy performance and durability, and exploit the potential of heat pumps as an enabler of power system integration and flexibility.

Heat pump manufacturing capacity by country or region according to announced projects and in the Net Zero Scenario


Global manufacturing will need to quadruple by 2030 to reach Net Zero targets

Greater deployment of heat pumps in the years ahead will require a scale-up of manufacturing capacity and has implications for the entire heat pump supply chain and electricity infrastructure. In 2022, some of the major manufacturers, notably in Europe, announced expansion plans that – if realised in full – would increase global manufacturing capacity by around one third. This would still leave a gap to meet the sales required in the Net Zero by 2050 Scenario. Global manufacturing capacity would need to almost quadruple by 2030 in order to bridge that gap.

However, manufacturing facilities can be deployed relatively quickly (one to three years) and few expansion projects are ever widely announced. Heat pumps share components with other industries and appliances, and their demand for critical materials – with its associated supply vulnerabilities - is lower than that of other clean energy technologies such as electrolysers, solar PV and wind. Expansion to 2030 is therefore likely to be much greater than has currently been announced. Other barriers, such as shortages of installers, appear to be more pressing priorities for boosting heat pump deployment.

Governments and industry have vital roles to enable heat pumps to play their full part in contributing to energy security, energy affordability and emissions reductions.
Our work

The HPT TCP functions as an international framework of co-operation and knowledge exchange for the different stakeholders in the field of heat pumping technologies used for heating, cooling, air-conditioning and refrigeration in buildings, industries, thermal grids and other applications. The mission of the HPT TCP is to accelerate the transformation to an efficient, renewable, clean and secure energy sector in its member countries and beyond through collaboration research, demonstration and data collection and through enabling innovations and deployment in the area of heat pumping technologies.

The DHC TCP conducts research and development as well as policy analysis and international co-operation to increase the market penetration of district heating and cooling systems with low environmental impact.

The mission of the Energy Storage TCP is to facilitate research, development, implementation and integration of energy storage technologies to optimise the energy efficiency of all kinds of energy systems and enable the increasing use of renewable energy. Storage technologies are a central component in energy-efficient and sustainable energy systems. Energy storage is a cross-cutting issue that relies on expert knowledge of many disciplines. The Energy Storage TCP fosters widespread experience, synergies and cross-disciplinary co-ordination of working plans and research goals.

The EBC TCP, created in 1977, carries out research and development efforts towards near-zero energy and carbon emissions in the built environment. Activities under the EBC TCP focus on the integration of energy-efficient and sustainable technologies into healthy buildings and communities.