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Heat pumps in subarctic areas: current status and benefits of use in Iceland

Heat pumps in subarctic areas: current status and benefits of use in Iceland

Title: Heat pumps in subarctic areas: current status and benefits of use in Iceland
Author: Atlason, Reynir Smari   orcid.org/0000-0002-6860-3348
Oddsson, Gudmundur V.
Unnthorsson, Runar
Date: 2017-09-07
Language: English
Scope: 283-291
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (UI)
Department: Iðnaðarverkfræði-, vélaverkfræði- og tölvunarfræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Industrial Eng., Mechanical Eng. and Computer Science (UI)
Series: International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering;8(4)
ISSN: 2008-9163
2251-6832 (eISSN)
DOI: 10.1007/s40095-017-0244-6
Subject: Energy efficiency; Heat transfer; Sustainability; Orkusparnaður; Varmaflutningur; Sjálfbærni
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/482

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Atlason, R. S., Oddsson, G. V., & Unnthorsson, R. (2017). Heat pumps in subarctic areas: current status and benefits of use in Iceland. International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering, 8(4), 283-291. doi:10.1007/s40095-017-0244-6


Heat pumps use the temperature difference between inside and outside areas to modify a refrigerant, either for heating or cooling. Doing so can lower the need for external heating energy for a household to some extent. The eventual impact depends on various factors, such as the external source for heating or cooling and the temperature difference. The use of heat pumps, and eventual benefits has not been studied in the context of subarctic areas, such as in Iceland. In Iceland, only remote areas do not have access to district heating from geothermal energy where households may, therefore, benefit from using heat pumps. It is the intent of this study to explore the observed benefits of using heat pumps in Iceland, both financially and energetically. This study further elaborates on incentives provided by the Icelandic government. Real data were gathered from the Icelandic energy authority for the analysis. It was found for the study database of 128 households that the annual electricity use was reduced from 37.8 to 26.7 kWh (an average 29.3% reduction) after installation of heat pumps. Large pumps (9.0–14.4 kW) and small pumps (5.0–9.0 kW) saved an average of 31.4 and 26.0% (95% confidence intervals), respectively. On average, households used approximately 26 MWh after installing a heat pump. When installing a small pump (5–9 kW), the mean annual saving (and 95% confidence intervals) was 10.6 ( ±± 2.7) MWh (approximately 26%). However, when installing a larger pump, mean annual savings were 11.3 ( ±± 1.6) MWh (Approximately 31%).


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