18 October 2011
Heat pumps present a significant advantage over conventional residential heating technologies due to higher energy efficiencies and less dependence on imported oil. The US
development of heat pumps dates back to the 1930’s with pilot units being commercially available in the 1950’s. Reliable and cost competitive units were available in the US market by the 1960’s. The 1973 oil embargo led to increased interest in heat pumps prompting significant research to improve performance, particularly for cold climate locations. Recent increasing concerns on building energy efficiency and environmental emissions have prompted a new wave of research in heat pump technology with special emphasis on reducing performance degradation at colder outdoor air temperatures. A summary of the
advantages and limitations of several performance improvement options sought for the development of high performance air source heat pump systems for cold climate applications
is the primary focus of this paper. Some recommendations for a high performance cold climate heat pump system design most suitable for the US market are presented.