A new natural gas heat pump was unveiled to the U.S. market today at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. To be marketed under the brand name ecovaire, this product will compete head on with traditional electric systems for both residential and commercial heating and cooling.
The ecovaire natural gas heat pump was installed in the Showcase Home - called the New American Home 2009 - at the International Builders' Show. The New American Home is a net-zero energy home that features state-of-the-art green building technology including the gas-powered mechanical HVAC system.
The ecovaire unit is built upon existing technology produced in Japan by Aisin (pronounced EYE-zen), a Toyota Group Company, and has been available worldwide for more than 20 years with thousands of units in operation. It was developed as part of a national Japanese initiative launched in 1985 to address escalating electric demand. Aisin produced their first gas engine driven heat pump in 1987 and their market share has increased dramatically from 1990 to 2000 and continues to grow. The Aisin unit has undergone modifications to meet the performance and certification needs of the North American market and more than two years of testing and monitoring have been completed for the North American unit.
"It fills an important energy and environmental gap that has been dominated by traditional electric systems," says Tommis Young, CEO of Team Consulting. "Natural gas driven air conditioning has long been considered the Holy Grail for the industry. From a technology, performance and branding perspective, this gas heat pump is truly a brand-new HVAC system for the U.S. market."
The unit contains a natural gas engine that utilizes scroll compressors combined with state of the art electronic controls and variable refrigerant flow management systems which allows up to 19 independent zones. The use of a refrigerant loop eliminates the need for space consuming duct soffits and allows for the placement of air handlers within each dedicated zone.
Unlike most traditional electric units that are either on or off, the ecovaire unit's control system precisely matches the engine output and energy requirements to any load condition significantly reducing energy consumption and component wear while delivering superior comfort. In the heating mode, the ecovaire unit augments its performance by capturing engine waste heat which not only increases efficiency but also eliminates the "cold blowing air" commonly associated with electric heat pumps.
"The performance of this unit is unmatched by any other product on the market today," said Young. "The ecovaire unit can reduce summer peak electric power demand by more than 80 percent while reducing a home's carbon footprint by up to 46 percent."
Other performance highlights include:
- Outstanding performance in both the heating and cooling modes.
- Depending on local gas and electric rates, annual savings up to 45 percent can be expected.
- Reduces noise pollution by more than 26% (GHP 56 decibels, EHP more than 75 decibels)
- Reduces water requirements by 83% (based on the gallons of water consumed annually to generate electricity)
The ecovaire unit is being distributed exclusively by All Air Systems and Team Consulting, a leading research & development engineering consulting firm based in Las Vegas.
The ecovaire unit will be available in the Southwestern U.S. by summer 2009. Roll-outs of this unit in other regions of the U.S. will follow along with the introduction of a commercial roof-top unit. Unlike conventional electric heat pumps that remain impractical for colder climates, the technology behind ecovaire is suitable for the entire North American market. For more information, visit http://ecovaire.com .