Empirical Study of the Effect of Thermal Loading on the Heating Efficiency of Variable-Speed Air Source Heat Pumps

Tom Marsik, Vanessa Stevens, Robbin Garber-Slaght, Conor Dennehy, Robby Strunk, Alan Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Heating buildings with air source heat pumps (ASHPs) has the potential to save energy compared to utilizing conventional heat sources. Accurate understanding of the efficiency of ASHPs is important to maximize the energy savings. While it is well understood that, in general, ASHP efficiency decreases with decreasing outdoor temperature, it is not well understood how the ASHP efficiency changes with different levels of thermal loading, even though it is an important consideration for sizing and controlling ASHPs. The goal of this study was to create an empirical model of the ASHP efficiency as a function of two independent variables–outside temperature and level of thermal loading. Four ductless mini-split ASHPs were evaluated in a cold chamber where the temperature (representing the outdoor temperature) was varied over a wide range. For each temperature, the ASHP performance data were collected at several levels of thermal loading. The data for all four ASHPs were combined and approximated with an analytical function that can be used as a general model for the ASHP steady-state efficiency as a function of the outside temperature and level of thermal loading. To the knowledge of the authors, no such empirical model that is solely based on third-party test data has been published before. While limitations exist, the model can be used to help guide future selection and operation of ASHPs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1880
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5600-85081

Keywords

  • air source heat pump
  • coefficient of performance (COP)
  • efficiency

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