Field and market assessment of heat pump clothes dryers

Ben Schoenbauer — Jan 2018


Why This Research Is Needed 

The fundamentals of clothes dryers have changed very little since they were first introduced in the 1940s. Today, nearly all single-family homes in the upper Midwest have a clothes dryer, and more than 80 percent of these use electric resistance heat to dry clothes. Heat pump clothes dryers hold potential for significant electricity savings by pulling air from the surrounding space to heat clothes, rather than using electric resistance. 

The technology is already common in Europe, but is only beginning to be introduced to the North American market. In addition, prices for heat pump dryers are now becoming competitive with conventional high-end clothes dryers. There is still a need to better understand the direct and indirect energy savings from this technology, as installed in actual Minnesota homes. 

Project Process and Expected Outcomes 

This study will conduct a field study of heat pump clothes dryers, compared to new conventional electric clothes dryers in single-family homes. This will involve both energy monitoring and research to better understand the consumer experience with the newer technology. The team will also explore the possible role of incorporating ventless heat pump clothes dryers in multifamily new construction. 


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. CEE is a subcontractor to Seventhwave on this project.
 

Project Info

Timeline
2018 to early 2020

Objectives
Investigate savings and the potential market for heat pump clothes dryers 

Scope

  • Recruit a sample of 30 households to participate in the field study
  • Monitor conventional and heat pump clothes dryer energy consumption
  • Conduct consumer research
  • Investigate the potential benefits of heat pump clothes dryers in multifamily new construction

Non-Energy Benefits

  • Improved impact on clothing appearance due to lower drying temperatures
  • Elimination of dryer venting
 

Utility Implementation
Results from this project will be highly transferable to Minnesota utility CIPs

Partners
Seventhwave (project lead)
Evergreen Economics