CanmetENERGY operates under Natural Resources Canada to promote the sustainable and economic development of Canada’s natural resources, while improving quality of life for Canadians. The Sustainable Buildings and Communities division at CanmetENERGY tests and promotes energy efficient technologies as well as performs necessary lab research in order to find newer and better technologies to make household appliances more energy efficient. Heather Lomax, a University of Waterloo chemical engineering student, worked in the Sustainable Buildings and Communities division. She was asked to verify the efficiency claims of the AirTap™ heat pump water heater, manufactured by AirGenerate™. The AirTap™ heat pump water heater is a device that takes in room temperature air, extracts heat out of that air, transfers it into water to raise the water temperature, and rejects the cold air back into the room. It is used as an add-on to existing storage tank water heaters. It also acts as an air conditioner and dehumidifier. This means that the AirTap™ is ideally suited to warmer climates where the air conditioning effect is most useful. CanmetENERGY was also interested in verifying the suitability of this system for the range of Canadian climactic conditions.
The learning objectives of this case study are to relate theory and concepts of heat and energy transfer efficiency to a practical application of household use. The case study provides a detailed heat transfer model for a heat pump. It also introduces the students to CSA (Canadian Standards Association) standards.