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ET24SWE0036 - Nonresidential Heat Recovery Chiller and Air-to-Water Heat Pump Measure Package Development

Project Name
Nonresidential Heat Recovery Chiller and Air-to-Water Heat Pump Measure Package Development
Project Number
Funding Entity
Market Sector
TPM Category Priority 1
TPM Technology Family Type 1
HVAC Design for Decarbonization
Distribution Report
Project Description

This project seeks to expand the California eTRM by adding measure packages [SP1] [SP2] [PB3] [SP4] [PB5] that focus on hydronic air to water heat pump (AWHP) and heat recovery chiller (HRC) offerings. This research will also determine whether the scope of AWHP and HRC can be combined into one measure package or would require two independent measure packages.   


Heat recovery chillers (HRC) can provide significant energy savings over traditional central plant arrangements as they reuse the energy in the system before the energy is rejected into the atmosphere, but their utility is only optimized in buildings where cooling and heating needs are simultaneously present. Air-to-water heat pumps (AWHP) are excellent candidates to support electrification by providing hot water and space heating needs of a building. On the other hand, there is the potential to misapply both technologies if the use case isn’t appropriate, so an element of the research will be devoted to identify these poor use cases and ensure that the measure package does not inadvertently push the market in the wrong direction. The team will exercise a well thought out strategy to screen out the “poor” cases and focus on the “preferred” cases. The strategy will include defining some of the attributes such as the building size, the heating and cooling load shapes, and the energy efficiency of the building. These technologies are commercially available and being leveraged by designers and are ready for addition to the utility portfolio to boost visibility and market share.


AWHP is generally considered only for retrofits for smaller sites without coincident cooling & heating loads that use a boiler for VAV reheat, and for any size building that currently uses a boiler to support a WSHP system. On the other hand, HRC (partial fuel substitution) retrofits for any size building with highly overlapping cooling & heating loads. However, larger buildings with simultaneous overlapping “heating and cooling loads” may require both AWHPs and HRCs. Therefore, both technologies complement each other, pointing to a combined measure.


The overall objectives of the project are to accomplish research into a measure package(s) framework for commercial air-to-water heat pumps and heat recovery chillers. The research would involve the following elements: perform a market assessment to inform program design and close any knowledge gaps regarding how systems are specified, develop a program design, collect or develop measure package inputs including cost and energy impacts, work with Cal TF and CPUC staff (via standard protocols such as engaging with the Cal TF measure screening committee and creating measure package plan(s)) to share the  working plans for the measures, and wrapping up the project by identifying a clear handoff strategy for the IOU to assume responsibility for final addition to the eTRM.


The specific objectives to be achieved in 2024 will include decisions on which AWHP and HRC measure offerings to pursue, review chosen strategies with the market and develop program rules and network with Cal TF, IOUs and CPUC.