01 March 2002

Designing heat pump systems: Users’ experience with software, guides and handbooks


The IEA Heat Pump Centre wants to extend its internet site with an assessment of users’ experience with design tools (software, design guides and handbooks) for residential, commercial and industrial heat pump applications to facilitate the choice for these design tools.

During the project 67 design tools, including handbooks, have been identified; 29 suppliers of design tools have returned our questionnaire. Most of these design tools originate from the USA. About two-thirds of the design tools is suitable for residential buildings and commercial/institutional buildings, half of them is suitable for industrial processes. Many design tools are meant for three or more target groups (consulting engineers, equipment suppliers, researchers and education). The suppliers said that to be “familiar” with the basic principles of heat pumps’ is enough to use most design tools.

The number of useful questionnaires completed by users of design tools is 10. Most users who completed the users’ questionnaire originate from Europe and are consulting engineer (40%) or originate from reserach institutes and education (30%). The design tools’ on the whole are assessed at good by 50% of the users (excellent: 20% and moderate: 20%). Residential buildings are the main application of the design tools (60%), 40% of the users uses the design tool for commercial/institutional buildings. The main tasks the software design tools are being used for are system performance prediction and detailed system design (both 78%) followed by cycle design (56%).

A database plus interface has been developed for the processing of the results of the project. The database brings together information about heat pump design tools and the related users’ experience. It also generates documents with descriptions of design tools and users’ experience with an individual or all design tools. Finally, it allows to select design tools by one or several keywords.

The number of completed questionnaires was lower than expected. The National Team contacts and Executive Committe delegates of the Heat Pump Programme, heat pump associations world-wide and other individuals involved in heat pump (system) design have been informed about the project and asked for their co-operation. They were asked (by e-mail and phone) to complete the questionnaires composed for suppliers and users of heat pump design tools on-line at the internet site of the HPC. Despite the efforts of the project team and the HPC the response was quite low.