Air-to-Water Heat Pumps
Josh Quinnell, Ph.D.
A possible cold climate solution for high-efficiency cooling, space heating, and water heating.
Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) have captured attention lately as a potential pathway for both energy efficiency and decarbonization. A lesser known subset of ASHP equipment, the air-to-water heat pump (AWHP), promises similar high efficiency for hydronic distribution (i.e., boiler) systems. AWHPs have the flexibility to interface with radiant systems, forced-air systems, and even domestic hot water. As such they have the potential to bring heat pump technology to even more end-use applications.
This project is a field study of AWHPs to characterize and evaluate their efficiency, performance, and cost-effectiveness. AWHP systems will be installed in representative scenarios. The systems will be fully instrumented and monitored for two years to measure and demonstrate their performance in cold-climate applications. This project will validate the potential of this technology to bring significant efficiency to residential electric heating, which is used in 17% of the homes served by Minnesota’s cooperative and municipal utilities.
This project is supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program, which is funded by Minnesota ratepayers.