Development and Testing of the Next-Generation Residential Space Conditioning System for California
November 29, 2021
Energy Research and Development (500)
Electric Program Investment Charge - EPIC
Ammi Amarnath, Sara Beaini, Walter Hunt, Ron Domitrovic, Aaron Tam, Alekhya Vaddiraj
To optimize conditioning systems for greater energy efficiency, utility integration, and homeowner comfort, the Next-Generation Residential Space Conditioning System for California integrates advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technologies. The researchers evaluated an alternative refrigerant as a possible future enhancement and assessed duct losses for single- versus multi-zone duct configurations with variable capacity equipment.
In this project, three leading United States laboratories provide experimental results to the industry on optimizing the system for efficiency, utility integration, and homeowner comfort. Key findings from the laboratory evaluation included:
Cooling energy savings ranged between 22 and 32 percent for California climates using variable speed compressors and fans compared to a single speed system that meets California’s minimum baseline requirement.
The tested integrated system satisfies more than 90 percent of annual heating need for most of the state without electrical or natural gas backup.
Demand response capability with variable capacity equipment enables utilities to reduce peak demand while reducing customer discomfort.
Zonal control, integrated ventilation, and intelligent heating integrated with the Next-Generation Residential Space Conditioning System offer air delivery versatility that may result in additional energy cost savings and increased homeowner comfort.
Revising ducting standards and providing more efficient control strategies would improve the integration of heat pumps connected to attic ductwork for hot and dry California climates.
R-32 (global warming potential 675) as an alternative drop-in refrigerant in a variable capacity heat pump improves system efficiency while reducing refrigerant charge compared to R-410A (global warming potential 2100).
The Next-Generation Residential Space Conditioning Systems was field tested in three homes in investor-owned utility service territories with all systems functioning appropriately. Customer feedback was positive. Users appreciated how quiet the units were and how quickly they cooled or heated the space, as well as their ability to control the temperature in individual spaces. Daikin/Goodman has featured the technologies used in this study in their product lineup.