Ensuring Central HPWH System Success

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Central heat pump water heating (HPWH) systems are the cutting edge in all-electric multifamily buildings in California. These systems promise to significantly lower carbon emissions of buildings while reducing energy costs and providing the same satisfactory hot water delivery performance as gas systems. Accordingly, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has partnered with consultant Ecotope to create Title 24 prescriptive and performance compliance options enabling further market penetration. The groundwork is set for this to become a mainstream technology!

At the same time, central HPWH systems are fairly new in the market. New technologies inherently mean the professionals working on them have less experience (you can’t have 30 years experience with a three year old technology!) which creates more opportunity for mistakes. There may be issues with the design, installation, or operation of the system. And, if you’ve just paid to get a new central HPWH system, those mistakes turn into higher energy costs and lower hot water delivery performance for you. We’ve even seen one example in the industry where a (not commissioned) heat pump never engaged and the system was forced to provide all heating with the electric resistance elements. This issue cost the owner over $5,000 per year. Yikes!

Beyond Efficiency is here to help. We perform design review, commissioning, and measurement and verification services on these systems so you can be certain that you’re getting the performance you paid for. Potential benefits include:

Certainty

Engineers and contractors aren’t as familiar with HPWHs as they are with older technologies. This can lead to design and installation mistakes. Our services will ensure that the system is designed and operating correctly and delivering the promised benefits.

Energy Cost Savings

Installation mistakes cost you money. The previous example of a poorly installed system costing $5,000 extra per year is not the only one. By working with the contractor to support and verify successful installations, we can help you avoid these expenses and ensure you’re getting the savings you paid for.

High Performance

Those installation mistakes lead to poor hot water delivery. An improperly installed system can’t provide as much hot water and may deliver cold showers. Correcting these mistakes will provide your occupants the hot water they need.

Knowledge

Many installers of central HPWH systems want to know how much they’re benefiting. Are they saving money each year compared to a gas system? How much are they reducing their carbon emissions? How much of their hot water comes from renewable sources? We’ll use monitoring data on your system, your energy prices, and data from CAISO to run our calculations and answer these questions for you.

Our HPWH Quality Assurance Process

First, we’ll review the engineered design plans before construction. We’ll both ensure that the design enables commissioning and check for design choices that may reduce operational efficiency or hot water delivery performance. We will provide recommendations on how system design could be improved to address any concerns we see.

After construction we will test the performance of your system in several ways. Our engineer will visit your building and collaborate with your technicians to perform functional tests. These tests will verify basic operation. Our engineer will also install monitoring equipment that records the performance of your system. After a few weeks, we will retrieve the monitoring equipment and data, analyze it, and determine how well your system is performing. When that’s complete, we’ll send you a report detailing the performance of the system, any issues that you may want to address, and provide your desired performance, cost, and environmental metrics.

We provide these services to benefit you, the state of California, and the whole world. We are all doing our part to overcome the generational challenge that is climate change, and we believe that ensuring your central HPWH system operates correctly is an area where we can further that goal while simultaneously supporting your bottom line and building performance needs.

Please contact us to discuss how we can help you be successful with central HPWH systems!

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