Featured Project

Cold Climate Air Source Integrated Heat Pump with Zoned Distribution and Utility Control for Low Energy Demand Housing

Technical advances are enabling houses to be built with very low space heating demand and, with proper house design and zoning, reduced demand for cooling. Significantly reducing energy consumption for domestic water heating, year-round, remains a challenge for housing in cold climates. Cold climate air source heat pumps (ASHPs) have emerged as an option for low-energy and net zero energy (NZE) houses. Most efforts to generate domestic hot water (DHW) with ASHPs have focused on using desuperheaters and produced limited quantities of hot water.

Recognizing this technology gap, SUMARAN Inc. developed and implemented a multi-year research project to develop prototype cold climate air source integrated heat pump systems (AS-IHP systems) capable of providing year-round DHW, heating and cooling for low-energy and NZE houses. Assessing ways to improve the efficiency of ASHP systems, including the use of zoned air distribution systems and tempering of the outside air supply through a gravel bed thermal storage system, was also part of the project scope. An additional project component involved identification of optimal strategies for reducing or eliminating peak electrical load in low-energy/NZE houses with ASHPs and grid-connected photovoltaic systems with battery storage (PV grid/battery systems). Transient System Simulation Tool (TRNSYS) was used to simulate the performance of the various systems.

The Government of Canada supported this project through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII)SUMARAN's partners in the project included Ecologix Heating Technologies Inc., Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada Inc., Carleton University, Polytechnique Montréal, Reid’s Heritage Homes, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

More information on this project can be found in the public final report: 

SUMARAN and its partners are continuing R&D on various themes arising from this project, including monitoring of the performance of AS-IHP systems in NZE and NZE-ready houses, research into gravel bed air tempering and PV grid/battery control systems, and further development of TRNSYS models and a user-friendly TRNSYS interface.