Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which is funded by the US Department of Energy, have created a free web-based tool that estimates the benefits and implementation costs for ground-source heat pump installations in buildings in the United States.
The tool was designed to allow building owners, heat pump system designers, and installers to estimate the efficiency and cost savings of ground-source systems in various buildings across all climate zones throughout the United States.
“You can change building characteristics, ground properties, and utility rates, and the annual return on investment is updated in real-time based on these inputs,” said ORNL researcher Xiaobing Liu. “This is the only tool available that can automatically simulate and predict the performance of [ground-source heat pump] applications.”
Users are free to use the tool after registering with the platform. It is possible to make a simulation for pre-configured buildings or real-time simulations, in addition to modifying the prices of electricity, water, and natural gas.
According to a dummy simulation by pv magazine for an existing mid-rise apartment in the state of New York, replacing its gas furnace with a ground-source heat pump would cost $87,238 and lead to annual savings of $11,837, with a payback period of seven years.
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