Cold Climate Heat Pumps (ccHPs)
|Annual est. savings if a ccHP replaces:|
|Existing fuel||$/unit||Current bill (est.)||50%||75%|
|Natural Gas||$1.41/ccf (therm)||$1,458.62||$-94.99||$-142.48|
|Actual savings may vary. Assumptions: Average single family home consumes 90 MMBTUs/annually
AFUE of most existing heating systems: 85%; COP of CCHP: 240%
If you heat your building with natural gas - as most Burlingtonians do - you need to know that saving money with a cold climate Heat Pump (ccHP) is highly unlikely, even if the system you purchased displaces 75% of the natural gas your building consumes during a typical year. In fact, current natural gas prices would need to double in order for most ccHP systems to generate enough savings to pay back your initial investment of between $3500 and $5000 in 9 years. So please understand that ccHPs are not the best economic choice for everyone.
If you are considering a ccHP, the best way to improve the comfort of your home or business, and save money, is to call an Energy Specialist at BED (802-865-7342). We’ll walk you through the decision-making process and help you maximize your energy investments.
Most likely, our first recommendation will be to weatherize your building even more than it is today. We do this because adding insulation and sealing air leaks reduces the heating (and cooling) requirements of your building, allowing you to select the optimally-sized ccHP system for your specific living or office space. A smaller ccHP system will not only cost you less, it also lowers the City’s long-term need for new power sources. This can save everyone money in the long run.
Regardless of the fuel you use to heat your building and how well it is weatherized, the ability of a ccHP system to meet or exceed your expectations is highly dependent on the following:
- The energy efficiency of the ccHP system
- The size of the ccHP system relative to the square footage of the room where the indoor ccHP unit is to be located
- The layout of the rooms in your building
- Your ability to control the newly installed ccHP system alongside your existing heating system, especially when outside temperatures are very cold.
More About ccHPs
Although traditional heat pump systems are widely used in more temperate climates (i.e. mid-Atlantic and southern states), ccHPs are a relatively new product in our region. Up to now, traditional heat pump systems could not deliver heat to indoor spaces when the temperature outside dropped below freezing. We all know how often that happens in Burlington.
But, with recent advances in compressors and refrigerants, some manufacturers claim that ccHP systems can reliably transfer heat to indoor spaces at -15ºF. That’s quite impressive if it’s true. However, at this early stage in our observation of ccHP systems in this climate, we don’t have the data to be certain.
To gain a better understanding of the performance and reliability of these new systems, BED and other interested stakeholders will be evaluating ccHP systems over the next several months. When we know more, we’ll certainly pass along the information to you - so please stay tuned.
In the meantime, if you need assistance in determining whether a commercially available ccHP system is the right choice for you, contact our Energy Services team at 865-7362 or e-mail us. We will be happy to schedule a time for one of our Energy Specialists to help you assess your energy needs and determine whether BED can provide financial incentives to reduce your energy requirements.