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The Future of DHW

Two photos of the indoor and outdoor units of air source heat pumps providing domestic hot water

A presentation based on research by Steven winter Associates

Key Takeaways

  • Based on NYC audit data, domestic hot water (DHW) production on average makes up 22% of the carbon emissions from the large multifamily buildings sector.
  • DHW loads need to be electrified intelligently to meet our climate goals and air-to-water heat pump technology is poised to meet that demand.

Executive Summary

NYC auditors frequently recommend replacing combined heating and DHW systems with separate systems, but the energy savings often do not justify the high capital cost. New fossil fuel-based systems should also be avoided when considering long-term carbon policies; NYC’s 80×50 Roadmap estimates that 95% of domestic hot water production must be electrified to reach the city’s carbon goals. Air source heat pumps pumps are a promising option for smart electrification of DHW loads, though there aren’t enough installations yet to evaluate their full potential. While critics suggest that electricity isn’t “clean” enough to justify electrification, air source heat pumps save emissions on today’s grid. This is a presentation by Nicole Ceci of Steven Winter Associates at the 2018 ACEEE Hot Water Forum.

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