Sustainability and green solutions are driving rapid transformation in manufacturing, product design and building construction.
For those looking to adopt more efficient practices and products, upgrading the water heating system is an excellent place to start. Leaders in this industry have answered the call by focusing on the creation of innovative products that help pave the way for a world less reliant on fossil fuels.
Decarbonization and electrification have been at the forefront of the water heating industry for several years, and they continue to garner attention from contractors, facility managers and engineers. Commercial projects across the country are looking for energy-efficient, green solutions to not only impact the bottom line through reduced energy consumption, but also benefit our planet. Heat pump technology is ideal for many residential project, too.
While these products aren’t necessarily new, they’ve become one of the most efficient solutions to meet and exceed customers’ water heating needs. Environmental and government regulations are influencing this movement across the country. In the Pacific Northwest and states such as California, these regulations are already driving technology adoption. But throughout the nation, homeowners and commercial property owners are also pursuing efficient options to help with energy and cost savings.
Recent advancements in heat pump technology not only help meet government mandates to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, but they also support private, company-directed sustainability goals. A. O. Smith and Lochinvar offer numerous ENERGY STAR certified options to address these needs across the board.
Heating up the future
Building professionals and homeowners are focusing on ways they can increase efficiencies beyond just water heating. From LED lighting structures and eco-friendly building materials to the most advanced heating and cooling systems, these types of upgrades are becoming more and more common. Reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are often top priorities for both consumers and contractors. As a result, sustainable building guidelines, such as LEED and WELL building certifications, continue to increase in popularity. These guidelines offer benefits for using efficient products and systems as sustainable solutions.
Government regulations are constantly changing, putting manufacturers at the forefront to ensure products match these evolving needs.
Knowing the importance of this, A.O. Smith has a task force specifically directed at understanding the most recent regulations and rebate/incentive opportunities. This team also stays plugged into current industry affairs to better understand new regulations or initiatives that could impact product development and the customer.
Heat pump WH basics
Heat pump technology relies on the principle that it’s more efficient to transfer heat from existing air or water, rather than generate new heat with a fuel source.
Especially well-suited for warm and temperate climates, but still efficient in colder climates, air source heat pump water heaters use electricity to pull heat and humidity from ambient air to heat water, cooling and dehumidifying the air as it runs.
Heat is extracted from the atmosphere directed through a compressor and redistributed into hot water. Water source units absorb heat from water sources, including return chiller water, process water and groundwater. Designed for indoor or outdoor use, commercial heat pump water heaters work in conjunction with storage tanks and can be tailored to meet specific application requirements.
Why it works
Recently, heat pump water heaters have been more common in residential applications. Commercial customers are starting to see the benefits of using this technology on a larger scale. Contractors, facility managers and other professionals are exploring the benefits of heat pump water heaters for large and small commercial applications, such as quick-service restaurants, office buildings, hotels, hospitals and airports.
Because they rely primarily on transferring heat from existing sources, rather than creating it from a fuel source, the main benefit of heat pump water heaters lies in being a sustainable, clean option for water heating. These products help building professionals contribute to greener building practices.
Heat pump water heaters can also provide substantial energy savings. Some options can even help customers save up to three to four times that of an electric resistance heater. For commercial spaces, it makes sense to install a heat pump system when the space will be occupied by the same tenant for three to five years. That way, its energy savings will be fully realized.
In addition to helping cut utility bills, heat pump water heaters are eligible for substantial federal tax credits and local utility rebates. A.O. Smith is committed to making it easier for consumers who want to purchase energy efficient appliances to find ways to earn more incentives. Both A.O. Smith and Lochinvar’s websites now offer a ZIP Code-enabled rebate finder powered by EcoRebates that helps consumers find rebates and tax credits for their new high efficiency water heater or boiler.
These are excellent ways for customers to save money while being early adopters of green technology. Heat pump water heaters can make a big impact as sustainability and decarbonization goals are being considered in more regions of the country.
Environmentally conscious practices continue to define the business community and the consumer decision-making process. Getting customers on board can be a barrier with the higher upfront costs compared to a traditional tank-type water heater, but helping them realize the long-term benefits could make all the difference.
The efficiency over time makes up for the initial cost and offers adopters a chance to track toward a greener future without having to change systems in just a few years.
Many businesses and cities across the country have put large goals in place to reduce carbon emissions over the next several years. Heat pump technology allows those incremental changes to be realized on a greater scale, while also benefiting our planet.
Dan Rettig is product manager, Lochinvar; and Paul Pohl is product manager, commercial new product development, A.O. Smith.