Heat pumps are a key strategy for eliminating fossil fuel use, being promoted by everyone from savvy HVAC contractors to national environmental groups to city and state agencies, but split system heat pumps are costly. Wouldn’t a small packaged solution be a hit in the market? Multifamily per-room heat loss is becoming so small, whether through deep energy retrofits or high-performance new construction, that a small packaged heat pump might really be JUST what’s needed for widespread adoption.

Imagine: no refrigerant piping, no refrigerant pipe insulation or chases, no licensed refrigeration tech, no outdoor pad, no outdoor electrical disconnect, not even an outdoor unit of any sort! How about costs in the $1000-2000 range instead of $5000-10,000 or more. Taitem’s recent study of existing and emerging technology reveals that we’re not quite there yet. 

Where are we? What’s out there? Do current packaged terminal heat pumps come close? And if not, could they with some design modifications? What else is available or being developed? Watch our January R&T below for a lively discussion of getting downright small with heat pumps.


Ian Shapiro, PE, LEED AP

Senior Engineer
Taitem Engineering

Ian founded Taitem in 1989. He is the co-author of the books Green Building Illustrated (2014) and Energy Audits and Improvements for Commercial Buildings (2016), both published by Wiley. He has been a visiting lecturer at Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and Syracuse University. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University, and an M.S. from Columbia University, both in mechanical engineering. Ian is a licensed engineer in the states of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania. In his spare time, Ian enjoys to spend time with family and friends, write poetry, and play soccer and basketball.



Evan Hallas

Senior Energy Analyst
Taitem Engineering

With ten years of experience in building science and energy efficiency, Evan has a deep understanding of building systems, strong communication skills, and a commitment to quality. Evan recognizes the importance of getting the details right, and to support this, he splits his time between the office and being out in the field.



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Research & Technology Forum Series 

SyracuseCoE offers regularly scheduled forums and networking showcasing innovative research, technologies and other opportunities of interest to stakeholders and community members. Past topics have included groundbreaking industry projects to modernize the HVAC systems at the Sistine Chapel, workshops to help state agencies develop funding priorities, and research on the impact of “green” buildings on cognitive function. To receive notice of these events, sign up for email updates at the “Join our mailing list” tab at the bottom right corner of the website. Visit the Research & Technology Forum page to see the archive.