The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) contracted with the Center for Energy and Environment to assess currently available centrally ducted variable speed heat pumps (VSHPs), also known as variable capacity heat pumps. The primary objective was to develop a better understanding of currently available products, pricing, performance specifications and equipment features.
The research team developed heat pump archetypes to explore the range of VSHPs on the market today, as well as key performance impacts of short cycling, coefficient of degradation, controls accuracy, sizing, defrost and duct sealing on annual energy consumption and peak power use. In addition, the team developed an 8,760-hour energy balance model that calculates the lifecycle levelized cost of heating and cooling. The tool enables users to compare different heat pump archetypes and understand what performance metrics, attributes, and equipment features lead to better heat pump performance and the lowest levelized cost of ownership for homeowners.