Get­ting hot wa­ter out of thin air

We are all fa­mil­iar with us­ing heat pumps to heat our homes – 28% of New Zealand homes have them – but most of us wouldn’t know that the ba­sic con­cept can be ap­plied to heat hot wa­ter with the same ef­fi­ciency. And a very low car­bon foot­print.

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Hot wa­ter is a big en­ergy sink in our homes con­sti­tut­ing about 40% of the to­tal en­ergy use. The trusty old elec­tric hot wa­ter cylin­der has served our needs for close to 80 years and re­mains the most pop­u­lar way to heat wa­ter. Gas wa­ter heaters be­came pop­u­lar from the 1990s on­wards by of­fer­ing ‘end­less’ hot wa­ter. How­ever these ways of heat­ing wa­ter are in­ef­fi­cient – the high­est con­ver­sion ra­tio from the fuel to the end prod­uct is 100%. In some cases it is as low as 75%. These tra­di­tional forms of wa­ter heat­ing can’t be ad­vanced past the ef­fi­ciency ceil­ing of 100%. The rise in power bills, par­tic­u­larly since the 1999 pri­vati­sa­tion re­forms has been sig­nif­i­cant. Elec­tric­ity has risen at a rate of 4-7% per an­num over this pe­riod and gas line charges have dou­bled.

A new way to heat hot wa­ter

The best way to com­bat higher en­ergy costs is by us­ing en­ergy more ef­fi­ciently. That is the ge­nius be­hind the Econ­ergy® heat pump wa­ter heater. The ef­fi­ciency ra­tio, or Co­ef­fi­cient Of Per­for­mance (COP) of the Econ­ergy heat pump wa­ter heater is 380% or 3.8:1. That means, for ev­ery unit of power con­sumed, you get 3.8 units of hot wa­ter. Clever.

Now, imag­ine we’ve con­nected one of these lit­tle boxes up to your hot wa­ter cylin­der. That can drop your power bill by 25-30%. And get rid of that costly line charge if you use nat­u­ral gas for wa­ter heat­ing. It is such a big change that you will in­stantly see a big drop in your en­ergy bills. Add the sat­is­fac­tion that you’ve done your bit to re­duce power con­sump­tion and tread lighter on the planet.

Econ­ergy de­liv­ers re­sults for aver­age house­holds

Doug Edgar from Hob­sonville in­stalled the Econ­ergy sys­tem and said, “We had an Econ­ergy sys­tem fit­ted two years ago and the sav­ings have been phenom­e­nal. Con­sid­er­ing we’re a two per­son house­hold, we have ex­pe­ri­enced sav­ings of 75% on our hot wa­ter heat­ing bill! We were reg­u­larly re­ceiv­ing power bills of $360+ per month but af­ter the Econ­ergy® sys­tem was in­stalled, we re­duced that to around $180 per month for the two of us. I can only imag­ine the sav­ings a fam­ily of four or more would make. The Econ­ergy sys­tem was all part of our big­ger pic­ture [for en­ergy sav­ing]. We’ve since in­stalled 3kW PV pan­els to fur­ther re­duce our power bills.

How does it work?

The Econ­ergy heat-pump wa­ter-heater trans­fers heat from the am­bi­ent air us­ing a com­pres­sor and uses it to heat wa­ter in your hot wa­ter cylin­der giv­ing fast ac­cess to hot wa­ter. Us­ing an Econ­ergy sys­tem saves around 66-75% of the an­nual run­ning costs for a hot wa­ter cylin­der and is around 40% cheaper to run than nat­u­ral gas. Nor­mally the Econ­ergy runs off mains elec­tric­ity; how­ever it also works very well with so­lar elec­tric­ity pan­els due to the low power draw – around 900W. Run­ning the Econ­ergy dur­ing the day off so­lar pan­els can elim­i­nate your hot wa­ter bill al­to­gether!

A wise in­vest­ment

With en­ergy prices con­tin­u­ing to rise. Econ­ergy is the ideal hedge against the in­cre­men­tal cost of heat­ing hot wa­ter, retro­fit to­day and the sys­tem de­liv­ers typ­i­cal an­nual Re­turn on In­vest­ment (ROI) of 25% on aver­age, or a four year sim­ple pay­back. The sys­tem war­ranty is for six years mean­ing that the sav­ings are guar­an­teed – there are no con­cerns for un­fore­seen re­pair costs in the first six years. The New Zealand Green Build­ing Coun­cil’s Homes­tar vol­un­tary rat­ing is be­com­ing more com­monly used. Even­tu­ally own­ers will have to de­clare the ef­fi­ciency rat­ings of homes when sell­ing them. In­vest­ing now makes sense be­cause you are fu­ture-proof­ing against these up­com­ing changes in leg­is­la­tion.

In­de­pen­dently en­dorsed

Don’t take our word for it. The Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sioner for the En­vi­ron­ment in the re­cent re­port “Eval­u­at­ing so­lar wa­ter heat­ing” said “Heat pump wa­ter heaters save most elec­tric­ity when it is most valu­able from both an en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic per­spec­tive.” Con­sumer Mag­a­zine tested the Econ­ergy heat pump wa­ter heater prod­uct, find­ing it “blitzed its com­peti­tors” and that “at all test tem­per­a­tures it was at least three times more ef­fi­cient than an elec­tric hot wa­ter cylin­der” Visit con­sumer.org.nz/re­ports/heat-pump-wa­ter­heaters to read the full re­port.

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