Partners: CMC Energy, Franklin Energy, Mad Dash
This project tested high-performance, cold-climate mini-split ductless heat pumps (DHPs) for income eligible customers living in multi-family buildings in ComEd’s service territory.
This project targeted income eligible customers living in low-rise, all-electric multi-family buildings. The objective was to evaluate energy savings across various scenarios for multi-family customers moving from electric resistance baseboard heat to cold climate DHPs. During this project, DHPs were installed in 80 apartment units across seven low-rise multi-family buildings along with submetering of systems to capture relevant performance data. The following variables were studied to gain a better understanding of their impact and to help evaluate whether this technology makes sense for integration into future energy efficiency programs:
- Supplemental electric resistance heat education-only approach vs ambient temperature lock-out device integration
- Multi-head vs single-head DHP installations
- DHP installations with building shell treatment vs DHP-only installations
- Single-zoned air conditioning displacement vs no existing air conditioning displacement
Energy use was monitored over a 12-month period, with quarterly checkups and participant surveys. The project was completed in the spring of 2020.
Researchers analyzed the data collected across a variety of metrics including:
- Cost-effectiveness for the customer and for ComEd to integrate this technology into the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program portfolio.
- Customer satisfaction with the technology.
- Performance of the technology in cold weather.
Results and Recommendations
The results of the study indicate that there is energy savings potential for DHPs, but barriers still exist when it comes to the integration of this technology into energy efficiency programs—especially surrounding cost effectiveness.
Key findings include:
- Future expected reductions in DHP equipment and installation costs will enable ComEd to integrate this technology more fully into the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program portfolio.
- Single-head systems generally deliver higher efficiencies and lower costs.
- Building envelope upgrades can reduce energy savings from HVAC upgrades, as heating loads are reduced.
- Sites with ambient lockouts demonstrated moderately higher mean savings than education-only sites and displaced resistance heating but increased the total project cost.