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Energy For The Taking: How Heat Pump Technology Allows CRE Owners To Access ‘Free’ Heat

Source: Bisnow


Heat pumps are the premier means to heat and cool buildings because of their ability to boost efficiency by 3 times more than other forms of electric heat, deliver reliable performance, reduce environmental impact, leverage low-GWP refrigerants, fulfill ESG goals, and comply with evolving regulations and policies.


Bisnow spoke with Jim Fusco, senior account executive with Boland Trane, to learn more about the use and benefits of heat pump technology in commercial buildings.


Bisnow: What advantages do heat pumps offer over alternative systems such as gas-fired boilers?


Fusco: One of the biggest benefits of a heat pump system is in helping a building decarbonize. Today, a lot of commercial buildings are heated by burning natural gas. That creates carbon dioxide, which is vented to the outside, ultimately carbonizing the atmosphere. If you remove that gas boiler or furnace and run the building entirely off of electricity produced by sustainable sources, you will stop burning fossil fuel.


Bisnow: What are some other benefits to using heat pumps over alternative heating systems?


Fusco: It can be a source of free heat.


When you run a heat pump cycle, you may use 1 kilowatt of electric energy to run your heat pump’s compressor. But on warm days, if it's 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside and you want to heat the building, then for the 1 kilowatt of electric energy you need to run that compressor, you'll get 3 free kilowatts of equivalent energy from the outside air.


There is an excess of free energy waiting to be harnessed in the atmosphere and used inside buildings. This is known as the coefficient of performance. From a metric standpoint, we rate a good coefficient of performance at 3 or 3.5 kilowatts, and with a heat pump, if you spend 1 kilowatt, you’ll get 3 free kilowatts.


Bisnow: Can heat pumps help building owners reduce their operating costs?


Fusco: Yes, heat pumps can certainly help building owners reduce their operating costs. The heat from the atmosphere that you are harnessing is free in a sense, versus if those 3 kilowatts of energy had to be produced with fossil fuel. Without a heat pump, you'd be paying for three times as much fossil fuel.


Bisnow: Are incentives available to help defray the cost of switching from fossil fuels to a heat pump system?


Fusco: The Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, has billions of dollars set aside for promoting, paying for and subsidizing heat pump systems like geothermal systems. The principle of geothermal is similar to what we’ve been talking about, but in this case, the energy comes from the earth instead of the atmosphere. The IRA will subsidize heat pump systems by almost 40%.


Bisnow: Tell us about the different types of heat pumps available for use in commercial buildings.


Fusco: Today, there are both air-source and water-source heat pumps. Air-source heat pumps collect the heat from the outside air and then put it into your space, whereas water-source heat pumps work in tandem with a geothermal system to extract heat from the earth, transfer the heat from the earth into the water, and then suck it back up with the heat pump to extract the heat and deliver it into the building.


Boland Trane offers both types of heat pumps at four different levels of efficiency, depending on the user’s needs, from the most basic builder-grade model to ones that would work with much more complex systems. While heat pumps lately are getting a lot of attention for their environmental benefits, our company has more than 60 years of experience in designing and manufacturing heat pumps.


This article was produced in collaboration between Boland Trane and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Boland. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.


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