HPAC Magazine

U.S. launches commercial heat pump manufacturing challenge

April 30, 2024 | By HPAC Magazine

The Better Buildings Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator includes a challenge to deliver next-generation commercial heat pump rooftop units to market by 2027.

With the intention of delivering more efficient and affordable next-generation commercial heat pump rooftop units to market by 2027, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) in collaboration with major manufacturers and commercial organizations is launching the Better Buildings Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator.

This initiative, that is partnering with the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other laboratories, will develop prototypes with manufacturers, test the performance and durability of the products, and lead field validations  with the goal of helping manufacturers produce higher efficiency and life cycle cost-effective heat pump rooftop units (RTUs).

Developed in partnership with corporations such as Amazon, IKEA and Target, along with equipment manufacturers including AAON, Carrier, Lennox, Rheem, Trane, and York, the Accelerator is expected to enable energy, emissions and cost savings.

Two Programs in the Better Buildings Commercial Heat Pump Accelerator:

Commercial Building Heat Pump Technology Challenge
Manufacturers will partner with DOE and its national laboratories to create emissions-effective heat pump RTUs that meet an advanced technology specification and will create prototypes, test the performance and durability of the products, and lead field validations with commercial partners. With the goal of having units available for purchase as soon as 2027.

Commercial Building Heat Pump Campaign
In collaboration with its National Laboratories, DOE will be providing building owners and operators with resources and guidance on how to deploy heat pump technology to support both site-level and portfolio-level installations. Lining up organizations to become buyers of the next-gen units emerging from the Challenge.

Ongoing Residential Challenge

This commercial heat pump program follows in the footsteps of the Residential Cold Climate Heat Pump Technology Challenge launched by DOE back in 2021, which challenged manufacturers to develop heat pump units optimized for operation at 5F (-15C). That program was launched in partnership with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many of the products in that challenge are now in the field testing stage and product commercialization is anticipated to begin this year.




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