History of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a proven technology that has been around for some time.

First Heat Pump

1904 – Lardarello, Italy

The heat pump was first described by Lord Kelvin in 1853 and developed by Peter Ritter von Rittinger in 1855. After experimenting with a freezer, Robert C. Webber built the first direct exchange ground-source heat pump in the late 1940s.

The first successful commercial project was installed in the Commonwealth Building (Portland, Oregon) in 1948 by J.D. Krocker, an engineer in Portland, Oregon, and has been designated a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by ASME. In 1948, Professor Carl Nielsen of Ohio State University developed the first ground source heat pump, for use at his residence.

The technology became popular in Sweden in the 1970s, and has been growing in worldwide acceptance since then. In Finland, a geothermal heat pump was the most common heating system choice for new detached houses between 2006 and 2011 with market share exceeding 40%. Each year, about 80,000 units are installed in the United States. Geothermal energy is used in all 50 United States states today.