Sustainable Hot Water on Tap - Heating, Insulation and Ventilation NZ
Sustainable Hot Water on Tap

Sustainable Hot Water on Tap

A Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pump system will have you singing in the shower again.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Usually the terms ‘high performance’ and ‘sustainable’ aren’t used in the same sentence but there are exceptions and the Reclaim Energy CO2 Hot Water Heat Pump is one of those exceptions.

“The Reclaim Energy CO2 hot water heat pump offers unparalleled efficiency, reducing your heating costs by up to 80 per cent. Reclaim clocks one of the highest coefficient of performance (CoP) stats—4.7—of any system in the New Zealand market,” says Apricus Managing Director Marcus Baker.

Input vs output

“This is a kind of simplistic way of looking at it but a CoP of 4.7 means that for every unit of electricity the Reclaim system uses it returns 4.7 units of heat energy to the cylinder. That’s with an ambient air temperature of only 19°C.

“As the air temperature rises, so too does the CoP to a maximum of 6 at 32°C. Conversely, the CoP does drop with a corresponding drop in temperature, down to 2.4 at -10°C. That’s still over two times more heat energy out compared to electrical energy in, even in freezing weather.”

“The reason it is able to achieve that result is due in part to the cutting-edge technology behind the system and because it uses CO2 as the refrigerant.”

The split system comprises a compressor, with fan and pump—operated by a smart controller connected to your hot water cylinder. Cold water is fed from the cylinder into the compressor, which is housed outside, where it is heated to 63°C before being returned to the top of the hot water cylinder.

The Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pump system is one of the most energy-efficient systems on the market.

From zero to sixty...

“The heat pump heats a cylinder 1.5 times faster than a standard 3kW electric element, which means that from the moment the system is operational, it takes only around 20 minutes to produce 50 litres of hot water. To put that into perspective, that means within 20 minutes of installation you could be enjoying your first hot shower and with today’s water-efficient showerheads using about 6 litres of water a minute, that 50 litres is the equivalent of an 8-minute shower, or long enough to get a couple of songs in.

“Of course, after that you’ll have all the hot water you could want on tap, so you can shower whenever you choose. ”

The Reclaim Energy CO2 hot water heat pump system was co-developed by a Japanese manufacturer and Apricus Australia, says Marcus.

“Apartment living is very common in Japan’s larger cities and because the system needed to be able to be installed on apartment balconies, one of the requirements was that it be very quiet. The developers were able to get the system down to 37dB—barely more than a whisper—when being operated, making it one of the most energy efficient hot water systems and one of the quietest.”

As well as being ideal for apartment dwellers, the system works well for those households that generate their own electricity.

The Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pump system can be used in parallel with a home PV system.

PV is no barrier

“A standard electric element in a hot water system would require a dedicated 3kW of electricity from a PV system for heating water plus needing to operate for 8–10 hours per day. The Reclaim Energy CO2 system requires less than 1kW and only needs to be in use for 4–5 hours per day. So householders with a home PV system get five times as much energy into their cylinder.

“Because of these capabilities, the system has been well received amongst the high-performance home sector. Dr Kara Rosemeier, Director of the Passive House Academy New Zealand, has specified the system for her own home.”

Also, the smart controller enables a level of customisation so that homeowners can set the system to operate in parallel with their PV system or at a time when the electricity companies offer the cheapest tariffs.

Future savings, both economic and environmental, are assured when using the Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pump system.

Cost-effective and environmentally friendly

“The average new home in New Zealand devotes around 45 per cent of its energy consumption to heating water,” says Marcus. “As such, the hot water system is one of the most important to get as energy efficient and sustainable as possible, not just to reduce your bills—achieving savings of up to 80 per cent—but to minimise your personal impact on the environment.

“Anyone born after 1987 won’t know what a CFC is or their harmful effect on the ozone layer but what a lot of people don’t know is that many of the refrigerants still in use today are also intense greenhouse gases. Properly disposed of, they pose little risk to the environment, however should they leak, 1kg of such refrigerant is equal to 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). That’s the same as driving the entire length of New Zealand six times in a diesel car.

“The Reclaim Energy CO2 hot water heat pump system uses 1kg of CO2 as its refrigerant, or 0.001 tCO2e. This means, should it leak, its effect on the planet would be negligible, making it the safest refrigerant in use today.”

Learn more about CO2 hot water heat pumps.

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