The world’s most energy efficient heat pump?
By Robin Whitlock on July 3rd, 2012
The American renewable energy company WaterFurnace International has recently launched a ground source heat pump which it claims is the most energy efficient in the world.
The company manufactures a range of geothermal and water source heat pumps. Its 7 series 700A11 is a variable capacity geothermal heat pump which is available now for homeowners and which is claimed to surpass both the 41 energy efficiency ratio (EER) and 5.3 coefficient of performance (COP) thereby making it twice as efficient as traditional air conditioners or heat pumps and 30 percent greater than current geothermal units.
This unit uses the company’s InfiniSpeed technology which is a soft-start variable capacity compressor which works in tandem with a variable speed ECM blower and a variable speed loop pump. The technology allows the heat pump to scale output to that which is required rather than default ‘high’ or ‘low’ speeds found in other heat pumps. The air conditioning function can also be turned down to 20 percent of normal operation or up to 130 percent depending on requirements.
The 7 series also uses a logic board called Aurora to continuously monitor performance. The Aurora is designed for two way communication between components and also has troubleshooting capabilities. It can also be integrated into home automation networks and whole-home energy monitoring with an internet connection if necessary. Other features include electronic expansion valves for refrigerant control, advanced hot water generation technology, a sophisticated microprocessor which monitors conditions and detects when there is extra heat available for the water heater and a diagnostic port which enables maintenance without having to open up the unit.
The WaterFurnace product generally comes out best in various industry blogs, with one US blogger stating that the 7 Series will definitely appeal to those people who simply must have the ‘best of everything’. Although the company claims the unit is the most efficient in the world, it is probable that its efficiency may be more productive within the US climate where it was manufactured, and whether it is available in the UK is another question although WaterFurnace does have a UK contact via Geothermal International so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem and their website makes much of their claim to have exported their products all over the world.
Ground source heat pumps are increasingly becoming very popular as a reliable source of renewable energy, so it may be very worthwhile checking this one out if you have a bit of money to spare.