The Government of Canada is committed to market transformation initiatives to improve the energy performance of water heating appliances. Water heaters currently account for 19% of the energy used in the average Canadian home. Natural Resources Canada is leading these initiatives with field studies to test new heat pump water heater technology.
Heat pump systems have been around for decades; however, new advances in compressor and refrigerant technology have improved the performance of these systems. Carbon dioxide (CO2), or R744, is a new substance used in heat pumps and refrigeration. Used in a heat pump system, R744 allows for heat collection from the outdoor air to be concentrated into a hot water tank, even in temperatures of -15 degrees centigrade.
This benign refrigerant has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1 (compared to the common R407C with a GWP of 1600) making R744 an ideal refrigerant with a high energy performance. Leaks are also easy to clean.
NRCan is working with the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and New Brunswick Power to test R744 heat pump systems in homes and in laboratories. Several of these systems will be tested to the Atlantic Canada climate, and the effects of salt air on the outdoor unit will also be tracked.
We look forward to the results of these projects after a good dose of winter challenges - stay tuned!