A large part of residential buildings’ energy use is due to water heaters and white goods. Among white goods, dishwashers and clothes dryers use as much as 83 and 185 TWh respectively of primary energy annually in the US. Clearly, finding ways to reduce energy use and global warming impact of these products is of high interest. And research and development is underway.
Regarding water heaters, products based on heat pumping technologies have the potential to reduce the energy use to less than half, compared to conventional products. Such a cut also leads to substantially decreased greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, there is ongoing research to find efficient refrigerants with a considerably lower global warming potential than standard refrigerants. In combination, this would make heat pump water heaters a very attractive alternative in terms of environmental impact.
Developers of clothes dryers and dishwashers are also looking into implementation of heat pumping technologies. Today, many clothes dryers use electric resistance heating. But according to recent studies, a shift to thermoelectric heat pumping technology would reduce energy use by 40%. For dishwashers, that number is 30%. Moreover, the thermoelectric technology does not use a refrigerant. Thus, also in this case the gain would be double.
Kashif Nawaz, USA (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
Kyle R Gluesenkamp, USA (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
Viral K Patel, USA (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
The text has been shortened by the HPC team