Instead of air-conditioning, why not use a heating pump to cool your building?

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More and more homes now feature cooling systems. When we talk about cooling systems, most people think of air-conditioning. However, not many people know that heat pumps can also be used to cool living spaces – or that they are an energy-saving, eco-friendly option.

The last few years have shown that climate change is contributing to long-running heatwaves, even in Austria. These rising temperatures are creeping indoors too, stopping people from feeling comfortable in their own homes. If outdoor temperatures consistently remain between 25 and 40 degrees Celsius in summer, buildings are no longer able to whisk away this indoor heat of their own accord – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they need an air-conditioning system. Instead, you can cool living spaces while conserving energy using a different intelligent climate solution: the heat pump in your existing heating system.

Using a heat pump to cool rooms

Heat pumps are becoming an increasingly popular choice for sustainable heating solutions in new buildings. Many homeowners are even opting for them when refurbishing old heating systems. However, heat-pump heating systems can be used for more than just room and water heating – they can also be used to cool buildings on scorching summer days. So builders should keep room cooling in mind even during the process of planning a new heating system, installing one that works for both these requirements.

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Cooling buildings with heat pumps – here’s how it works

There are two different methods of using heat pumps to cool buildings: passive cooling (also known as direct cooling) or active cooling (which reverses the heating process).

Passive cooling

During passive cooling, almost no additional energy is consumed because the cooling reservoir in the ground is used to reduce the room temperature by around three degrees Celsius. Cool water is moved around the heating or cooling circuit via the circulating pump. This means that passive cooling conserves energy particularly well, as the heat pump itself is not in operation – only the circulating pump and control system are. This type of cooling is used exclusively in cases where heat pumps are installed in the ground.

Active cooling

During active cooling, the heat pump’s function is simply reversed in order to generate cold water for regulating the room temperature. This means that the heat pump is in operation, extracting energy from the building and emitting it into the environment. Compared to passive cooling, active cooling has a greater cooling capacity. Active cooling can be used for all types of heat pump: ground heat pumps, water heat pumps and air heat pumps.

Underfloor cooling, wall cooling, ceiling cooling or fan convector

Unlike conventional air-conditioning systems, the existing hot water heating system can be used if a house is going to be cooled using a heat pump. This means that the underfloor heating or wall heating can function as underfloor cooling or wall cooling during the summer – without any additional investment costs. Wall cooling provides a particularly pleasant indoor climate and emits no noise. In addition, wall cooling is more effective than underfloor cooling.

A ceiling cooling system provides an even better cooling effect, as it delivers a gentle flow of air that distributes well throughout the room.

Traditional radiators cannot be used with a heat pump to cool rooms.

Another way to reduce the room temperature is by using fan convectors, or fan coils. The heat exchanger design is simplified through the use of blades and an integrated fan. Using fan convectors achieves an exceptionally powerful and – most importantly – fast-acting cooling effect. In addition to the temperature being reduced, the air can also be dehumidified. The individual cooling performance is dependent on the size of the unit. A fan convector can only be used for active cooling. Draughts and noise can be kept to a minimum by positioning the fan coils in appropriate locations.

Energy-saving, eco-friendly cooling

Hoval heat pumps work efficiently and only require a little electricity to produce cooling energy. If homeowners operate their heat pumps together with green electricity, they can be safe in the knowledge that their houses are being cooled in a way that is 100% ecological, environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral.

Expert consulting

Another useful tip is that many of Hoval’s heat pump models already feature the CleverCool function that is needed in cases like these. Even if you have already read a lot about heat pumps on the Internet, we recommend obtaining the professional opinion of an expert. Let our Hoval experts assist you in choosing the energy source for your individual cooling solution; you can now benefit from a free consultation without obligation. 

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Author
Stefan Müller
 
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