The design of heat pumps that supply space conditioning and domestic water heating has also improved dramatically. Enhanced vapor injection, variable speed inverter compressors, electronic expansion valves and other state-of-the-art technologies have been integrated into many modern heat pumps . The resulting efficiency gains now allow air-source heat pumps to be used in cold Northern climates, even when outside temperatures fall below 0 ºF. And because they operate on electricity, rather than fossil fuel, they are well-positioned for today’s focus on carbon reduction driven by changing social attitudes and government policies.
This issue of idronics deals with “air-to-water” heat pumps that heat buildings by absorbing low temperature heat from outside air and delivering it, at higher temperatures, to a hydronic distribution system. These heat pumps combine the advantages of modern air-source heat pump technology with the unsurpassed comfort of hydronic heating and cooling. They are widely used in Europe and Asia, and represent a growing market opportunity within North America.
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