Expanding the Market for Energy Efficient Heat Pumps

Energy-efficient heat pumps have been used to heat and cool homes in the United States and other regions of the world for more than three decades, but have typically been used only in areas with mild climates. Thanks to innovations from Emerson Climate Technologies, heat pump systems using the latest scroll compressor technology are now able to expand beyond their traditional geographic markets and provide energy efficient climate control options for people in China and Europe.

Heat pumps are essentially air conditioners that can also operate in reverse – transferring heat from outside the home to inside. Emerson’s Copeland Scroll compressors have been used for years by manufacturers of traditional heat pumps. More recently, Emerson has been working on scroll compressor technology that provides improved efficiency and heating performance for heat pump systems operating in cooler climates.

Heat pumps are especially popular in China where 80 percent of cooling systems are also used as heat pumps for heating. However, traditional heat pumps do not work efficiently in northern China’s colder winters. Emerson worked closely with manufacturers in China and developed systems powered by Copeland Scroll Digital Heating™ and Copeland Scroll Heating technology that enables these new heat pumps to operate much more efficiently and effectively in colder temperatures. In fact, compared with ordinary electric heating, the new heat pump can save up to 75 percent of electric power consumption.

This technology breakthrough and improved energy efficiency led China’s Ministry of Construction to award a heat pump system using Emerson’s technology with its "world leading" endorsement in 2006. Two Chinese manufacturers are now marketing heat pumps systems with Copeland Scroll Digital Heating, providing owners of offices, residential buildings and homes with an energy efficient option for electric central heating and cooling.

The market for heat pumps in Europe has also experienced high growth rates, driven by an increasing focus on renewable energy and the demand for independent energy supply. Many homes across Europe use hot-water radiators for heat, which are connected to a steam boiler that is fired by gas or oil. Replacing these boilers with high-efficiency heat pumps that draw heat from the air, geothermal or groundwater sources offers a more environmentally friendly option for indoor comfort that doesn’t have to rely on burning of fossil fuels.

Heat pumps are especially popular in Sweden and Switzerland where the technology has a 90 percent and 75 percent penetration, respectively, in new building construction. In Germany and France, the technology has also seen strong growth where heat pumps also benefit from the support of government incentives.

Emerson has optimized its scroll compressor technology to meet the growing demand for heat pumps in Europe. Emerson’s new Copeland Scroll Heating™ compressors provide greater heating capacity and operates more efficiently at low outdoor temperatures – expanding the application of heat-pumps to meet the space heating and sanitary hot water production needs of an increasing number of European homeowners.

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