18 May 2017
Heat pumps (HPs) provide significant advantages over conventional heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Nevertheless, they are rarely considered in new building design in Canada because they are perceived as (i) expensive and (ii) requiring detailed feasibility studies to determine whether the investment is worthwhile. This situation is compounded by the variety of HP systems available, which often makes it impractical to appropriately study all available options. However, without such studies, it is difficult to identify the best system for a particular building project.
This paper presents a user-friendly tool developed by CanmetENERGY to address this situation. The Heat Pump Assessment Tool (HPAC) is a free software that provides rapid assessments of HP systems for a specific set of building parameters with only minimal input requirements. The tool allows designers to rapidly assess a variety of heat pump systems at an early design stage, supporting the integration of these systems in buildings. HPAC’s results are based on models developed for pre-defined building types, with a typical HVAC system for each building type used as a reference. The models allow for the rapid assessment of investment and operating costs, greenhouse gas reduction potential, net present value and simple payback period of selected HP systems for a variety of climate zones and utility rates across Canada. Although the tool focuses on the Canadian market, the methodology used is easily transferable to address the realities of other nations around the world.