Exhaust air heat pumps prove ideal for social housing — Unipipe
This article was originally published in issue 38 of Passive House Plus magazine. Want immediate access to all back issues and exclusive extra content? Click here to subscribe for as little as €10, or click here to receive the next issue free of charge
Unlike air source heat pumps, which extract heat from outdoor air, exhaust air heat pumps extract heat from warm stale air that would otherwise be vented from the building. Unipipe supplies NIBE’s F730 exhaust air heat pump, which is suitable for dwellings up to 160 m2 in size, and which provides space heating, hot water, and ventilation all in the one internal unit.
“Two years ago we provided exhaust air heat pumps for a scheme of terraced social housing for Dublin City Council, and that proved very successful,” Nick O’Donnell of Unipipe told Passive House Plus. “We’re now providing more F730 units to other local authorities across multiple sites, and we have several more social housing projects as well as apartments underway.”
O’Donnell added that exhaust air heat pumps offer a number of advantages for social housing and apartments. For a start, there is no outdoor unit, which makes them ideal for apartments or dwellings with limited garden space and eliminates the risk of vandalism and noise pollution. “All equipment is inside, protected from the elements,” he said.
He continued: “The NIBE exhaust air heat pump is also ideal in smaller dwellings because it saves on space. If you install an air-to-water heat pump, you may still need to put in a separate mechanical heat recovery ventilation system with another controller, but in this case the heat pump, cylinder and ventilation is all integrated in one quiet, fridge-like unit. The NIBE F730 can be connected to underfloor heating or radiators. No electric radiators are required as the inverter compressor output provides up to 4.5 kW. The integrated 180 litre stainless steel cylinder provides plenty of hot water, and weather compensation provides a comfortable, constant indoor temperature.
“On one of our recent social housing projects the engineer designed in a very nice detail that allows council staff access to the unit for maintenance from the garden, via a special external door, while on the inside the tenant can easily control their heating, hot water and ventilation from a remote colour screen.”
The NIBE F730 is internet and smart grid ready, and it can be remotely monitored via NIBE uplink. It is also possible to integrate the F730 with NIBE solar PV. NIBE has been making and developing exhaust air heat pumps for 40 years as part of its range of heat pumps.