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Engineering Features - Mechanical Heat pump and ERV

Heat PumpThere are a myriad of innovative products and designs that push the envelope of home conditioning using as little energy as possible. As much as we would like to showcase some of these concepts, we prefer to demonstrate that proven and accepted technologies are here now to meet the rigors of the Solar Decathlon Contest. With this in mind, and given the constraint of an all-electric house, we have chosen an ultra-high efficiency heat pump to both heat and cool our house. The heat pump "pumps" heat out of the house to the outside in the summer and reverses to "pump" heat into the house from the outside in the winter. The system we chose was a Carrier hi-efficiency 2-speed Heat Pump (SEER=18). The system will operate at its ultra-efficient low-speed most of the year but will kick into its efficient high speed during extreme temperature days allowing us to save in energy usage without sacrificing comfort.

Energy Recovery VentilatorSince the CU Decathlon home will be built with tight construction, which limits the amount of air that naturally transfers in and out, mechanical ventilation is needed to maintain the indoor air quality. Therefore an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) was incorporated into our mechanical design. An ERV will be used to exchange the heat and humidity of the outgoing conditioned air with the incoming air. This reduces the amount of energy that is required to heat or cool the fresh air while still meeting ventilation needs.

The majority of mechanical, pluming, and electrical equipment will be located in the Tech Pod, with some of the mechanical equipment located in the space above the bathroom. The duct system will consist of two separate runs, one for the heat pump system and one for the ventilation system. This is primarily due to the relatively large difference in airflow and pressure requirements to adequately deliver conditioned and ventilation air to all zones. The duct will have two branches, one that will go directly from the heat pump the a diffuser on the north wall of the bedroom and one that will run on the lower edge of the walkway above the kitchen space. Another diffuser will distribute air from this duct into the living/office space. Return air will be taken from a single high vent that will be located on the wall of the space above the bathroom.

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