In recent years FRESCo has been expanding our focus on heat pumps as the technology has improved and interest in deep GHG reductions has increased. See below for a brief overview of heat pumps and some examples of recent work.
An air-source heat pump can provide efficient heating and cooling for your building. When properly installed, an air-source heat pump can deliver 3-5 times more heat energy than the electrical energy it consumes. This is possible because a heat pump moves heat, rather than “burning” it from a fuel like combustion heating systems do.
A heat pump’s refrigeration system consists of a compressor and two coils made of copper tubing (one indoors and one outside), which are surrounded by aluminum fins to aid heat transfer. In heating mode, liquid refrigerant in the outside coils extracts heat from the air and evaporates into a gas. The indoor coils release heat from the refrigerant as it condenses back into a liquid. A reversing valve, near the compressor, can change the direction of the refrigerant flow for cooling as well as for defrosting the outdoor coils in winter.
While heat pumps have tremendous potential to reduce energy use, improper design and installation is a significant issue that reduces energy savings and occupant comfort.
FRESCo developed training for FortisBC and BC Hydro for the first phase of the Program Registered initiative for heat pumps. The training helps to increase contractor knowledge of best practices. We also developed an Installation Quality guideline for use by Program Registered Contractors.
The BC Ministry of Energy and Mines, BC Hydro, and FortisBC partnered to carry out a study on the practices used to install air source heat pumps (ASHPs) in BC’s residential sector in the past several years.
The objective of this study is to assess ASHP installation practices in BC, estimate the impact on heat pump performance and recommend best practices to improve installation quality within the province.
FRESCo was hired to manage and carry out the process.
The study provided data and feedback including:
ASHP training workshop for potential PRC contractors
FRESCo will develop documents and related training for the first phase of the Program registered contractor initiative for heat pumps.
The Program Registered Contractor (“PRC”) initiative was developed in 2017 to support residential contractor development and engagement for utility energy efficiency programs. The PRC launched with insulation contractors and will be expanded to heat pump contractors in 2019.
The training will aim to improve basic contractor knowledge and understanding of best practices for installing air source heat pumps in residential buildings and will build on the learnings from the recently completed Air Source Heat Pump Installation Practices project, which looked at the quality and common issues associated with heat pump installations that received a utility or government rebate.