01 July 1993
Technically, heat pumps are well placed to achieve significant energy savings in the important area of hot water heating. Yet in many situations the economic justification appears difficult, and so far heat pump water heaters have seen limited penetration in most markets. To provide an up to date statement on the current technology and market status of HPWHs the Heat Pump Centre first of all performed an analysis: `Domestic Hot Water heat Pumps for Residential and Commercial Buildings’ published in April 1993 (HPC-AR2). The next move to appraise and realise the opportunities for the technology an international workshop was organised at Breckenridge, Colorado. At this workshop experts from three continents exchanged experiences on the technology and marketing of HPWH products for both residential and commercial applications. Aim was to begin to develop a shared strategy for increasing the use of this energy efficient technology. Eleven presentations were held in the general session, and subjects covered including:
· European, North American and Japanese developments.
· Exhaust air heat pumps in the US and Sweden.
· Integrated residential hot water heat pump in Japan.
· Heat recovery heat pumps in commercial buildings.
· Test and rating procedures.
After the general session, the workshop broke up in three groups, which discussed HPWH technology, applications and markets. All groups concluded that there is a need for an effective industry infrastructure which at present does not exist. This would cover sales, marketing, installations and maintenance of HPWH equipment. The area of testing and rating standards was identified by the workshop participants as a disincentive to widespread use of heat pump water heating technologies. For instance, the current test conditions, particularly the storage temperature, are not representative for heat pump water heating equipment. The installation of current systems was also judged by many participants to be too complex. In the commercial/institutional sector, there is a need for user-friendly design and application tools and guidelines, as systems are often site specific. Heat pump water heaters are cost-effective, offer utilities cost avoidance opportunities, and are energy efficient, in particular when compared to resistance heaters or when integrated with air-conditioning or ventilation heat recovery systems. The merits need to be emphasised to decision makers both in utilities and government, when seeking their collaboration in addressing the challenges facing the HPWH industry, before the large potential for this equipment can be fully realised.