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LEFT: Colin Mauger believes a customer’s first consideration should always be whether renewable energy – in the form of solar pool heating – will do the job. Image: Supreme Heating

BELOW: Rheem’s psychometric test laboratory is central to the company’s heat pump development and allows it to test its own Australianmanufactured hot water and pool heat pumps along with imported units

heating cost under certain conditions and a greatly reduced reliance on grid supplied power across the heating season.”

Measuring the coefficient of performance

The energy efficiency of a heat pump is measured by its coefficient of performance (COP). This has become a critical part of the equation for consumers, and it is the potential for this aspect to be misunderstood and misrepresented that is of great concern to Crowther and Rheem Australia. “The COP is the ratio of heat value produced by the heat pump relative to its electrical input,” says Crowther. “That is, if a heat pump produces 5kW of heat but in turn only consumes 1kW of input, then it has a COP of 5. Higher COPs equate to lowered energy use and lower running costs. “Given that the COP is potentially such an important measure in the purchase decision, it is vital that consumers are given easily understandable, comparable and genuine information on efficiency. In my view, this is not the case now in the Australian market. Understandably, many consumers are simply bewildered at the variance in information which is presented to them.” As a former ministerial advisor in energy policy and past president of the Australian Heat Pump Association who has 30-years’ experience in heat pump design and manufacturing, Crowther is in a unique position to provide commentary. “My concern is, firstly, there is no standard approach to COP either in terms of the definition itself (that is, the point of measurement or the ‘rating condition’), or in terms of the methodology of measurement,” he says. “Secondly, and more importantly, there is no direct restraint on how product sellers then portray how the COP characteristics of their heat pump provide savings for the pool owner. “This issue is more pronounced now with the cross-over of inverter technology from air conditioning to pool heating. If I was to be generous, I may say that some of the information evident in sales literature is at best misleading

while some of it is simply wrong.” Rheem’s psychometric test laboratory is central to the company’s heat pump development and allows it to test its own Australian-manufactured hot water and pool heat pumps along with imported units. Crowther says that access to the laboratory has given Rheem the ability to fully break down and understand the key elements of heat pump efficiency. “Indeed, the laboratory has allowed us to voluntarily adopt the Florida Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) progressively into the design of units in our residential range,” he says. “The Florida MEPS requires a minimum COP of 4.0 when the air onto the heat pump evaporator (the ambient temperature) is 10°C. Compliance to the Florida MEPS does present a challenge and if I was a pool owner looking at heat pumps, I would use this as a key benchmark. High efficiency when the outside air is coldest is fundamental as it is at this time that a pool’s heat losses are highest, the heat pump is working hardest, and heating costs are highest.” June/July 2019  SPLASH!  33

Profile for The Intermedia Group

SPLASH June-July 2019  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....

SPLASH June-July 2019  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....