Heat pumps provide comfort in space and water heating, and with superior efficiency. But collectively, all installed heat pumps have more beneficial effects: First, the industry is a big contributor of labour, as the products and its components have to be manufactured, installed and maintained. Second, due to its efficiency, the stock of heat pumps produces renewable energy, saves energy consumption and avoids greenhouse gas emissions. In this section these benefits are quantified and presented.

How much green energy did heat pumps provide in 2021?

All heat pumps that were sold and installed in 2021 provided 15.11 TWh of renewable heat. The heat pump stock, which includes all units that were sold and installed in the last 20 years, contributed 174.5 TWh of green energy in 2021 (Chart 1). For comparison: The 2021 RES target for heating and cooling is 1296.7 TWh in absolute terms. Hence, heat pumps already deliver 11% of the target.

Chart 1: Renewable thermal energy provided per country, by type, 2021 (in TWh); "H-" indicates primary heating function

How much energy was saved in 2021 by using heat pumps?

Comparing the energy demand of heat pumps with the best available alternative – gas condensing boilers – would lead to an increase in energy demand. All heat pumps installed in 2021 have saved 19.37 of final and 8.46 TWh of primary energy. The stock of heat pump units in operation across Europe by 2021 saved 223.1 TWh of final and 100.9 TWh of primary energy (Chart 2). The overall EU 2021 target for final energy savings is 3 966 TWh (including all sectors, i.e. also transport and electricity).

Chart 2: Final energy savings from heat pumps based on sales 2021, per country (in TWh). The orange line indicates the amount of primary energy saved

How much CO2 emissions were avoided in 2021?

The comparison of the same scenarios as above yields the emission savings given the use of heat pumps. Generating energy from fossil fuels creates CO2 emissions. Hence, if heat pumps can save energy, they also save emissions. Based on the sales volume 2021, 3.86 Mt of CO2 emissions were avoided. The whole stock of installed heat pumps saved 44.70 Mt of CO2 emissions (Chart 4). This is about 4.6% of the overall absolute EU 2021 target for GHG emission reduction (806 Mt) (Source: European Commission, EU energy trends to 2030, p.66).

Chart 4: Greenhouse-gas emission savings based on sales 2021, per country (in Mt);"H-" indicates primary heating function