A new class of residential HVAC equipment is gaining momentum in the Canadian marketplate. The new product, referred to as integrated mechanical systems (IMS), groups the functions of space heating, water heating and heat recovery ventilation into a single package. This new single combined appliance provides homeowners with:
- Forced air space heating;
- Domestic water heating;
- Outdoor air ventilation (with heat recovery);
- Hydronic heating (such as for radiators, radiant floors, or even swimming pools).
The advantages of this integration include material and energy efficiency in addition to installation related benefits such as reduced footprint and labor efficiency.
The technology is primarily of interest to homeowners seeking a unified high energy efficiency approach to providing all of the mechanical equipment required in a typical Canadian home. IMS can be very effectively applied in certain light commercial applications as well.
CanmetENERGY has actively encouraged the development of these integrated mechanical systems since the original concept of ‘combo systems’ emerged into the residential HVAC/r market in the early nineties. Combo systems were the first attempt at reducing installed cost and improving efficiency by dispensing with redundant components and appliances (flue, burner, vent blower, etc.) though integration.
Through a concerted collaboration between CanmetENERGY, HRAI and several Canadian manufacturers, early prototype IMS appliances were developed. Through this process, a great deal of knowledge was created and shared through research, laboratory and field trials and technology transfer activities.
In September 2003, the Canadian Standards Association approved the development of a new test and rating standard for IMS equipment. With support from CanmetENERGY, this led to the publishing of the new CSA P.10 Standard – ‘Performance of integrated mechanical systems for residential heating and ventilation’ in 2007. This standard ‘raises the bar’ for the real-world, actual installed performance of home mechanical equipment in ways that the furnace and hot water heater industry has never experienced. IMS appliances meeting this new standard are now available to North American consumers, installers, and home builders.
In order to meet the challenge of greenhouse gas reduction through massive improvement in energy efficiency in the housing sector, CanmetENERGY is again encouraging innovation by partnering with Canadian industry to:
- Provide unbiased laboratory and field test results establishing the energy performance of IMS appliances in homes;
- Encourage the development of new appliances meeting the CSA P.10 standard;
- Expansion of the role of IMS equipment to include the exploitation of heat produced by renewable energy sources in homes;
- Transformation of the CSA P.10 standard as required to recognize the contribution of heat from renewable energy into IMS based installations;
- Application of renewable heat enabled IMS.
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