Australian CO2 Heat Pumps

Australian Housing Project Selects CO2 Heat Pumps, Cutting Tenants’ Costs

Automatic Heating has installed 11 ITOMIC units of varying sizes at six carbon-neutral Nightingale Housing apartment buildings.

Automatic Heating, an Australian provider of heating and cooling systems to the commercial HVAC market, has installed 11 CO2 (R744) heat pumps from Japanese manufacturer ITOMIC at six local Nightingale Housing carbon-neutral apartment buildings, resulting in estimated operational savings for tenants.

Nightingale Housing is an Australian not-for-profit organization building apartments that are socially, financially and environmentally sustainable. “Nightingale recognizes that we’re in a climate emergency,” according to their website. “We’re committed to only delivering all-electric, fossil fuel-free homes and commercial spaces.” That’s why CO2 heat pumps were a great match.

“Nightingale buildings have to be carbon neutral,” explained Jeremy McLeod, Nightingale Housing Founder. “To tackle carbon, we have to electrify our buildings, and we have to find ways to heat our buildings and heat our hot water, which is why we use packaged heat pumps.”

A range of 11 ITOMIC CO2 heat pumps has been installed at the six Nightingale Housing projects together with thermal storage and buffer tanks to provide carbon-neutral heating solutions for both hydronic heating and domestic hot water systems.

A mix of 15kW (4.3TR), 35kW (10TR), and 65kW (18.5TR) units were installed – depending on the size and usage of the apartments. The hot water supply is at a maximum 90°C (194°F), according to Koji Morimoto, ITOMIC Overseas Manager.

The COPs achieved by the units are:

  • 15kW (4.3TR): COP 4.17
  • 35kW: (10TR) COP 3.96
  • 65kW: (18.5TR) COP 4.07

Challenging misconceptions, reaping rewards

Finding a carbon-neutral solution was not easy for the Nightingale team. Consultants were nervous about specifying heat pumps, considering Melbourne’s temperate climate raising concerns, according to McLeod. “There were challenges with consultants and misconceptions,” he said. “We saw systems being over-specified and a number of redundancies put in place, which was making the systems look expensive.”

When McLeod met Automatic Heating’s Owner and General Manager Anthony Plaisted, that’s when everything changed. “Plaisted spoke to us about hot water storage as an energy battery,” noted McLeod.” You can have a small CO2 heat pump working longer throughout the day. We can task the heat pump either when our solar is on or off-peak. Anthony helped us redesign a very efficient system.” This made it cheaper for the residents, according to McLeod.

The rewards of installing packaged heat pumps are ongoing for Nightingale Housing. “We don’t have 20 individual hot water heaters,” McLeod said, referring to the number of hot water heaters that had been in each building. “We have one high-efficiency CO2 heat pump which heats water for the whole building. The same for our hydronic heating. We don’t have 20 individual gas condensing boilers; we have one highly efficient packaged heat pump that does that work as well.”

Automatic Heating is working with Nightingale Housing on an ongoing basis to further expand its partnership to new buildings as well. According to the company, CO2 heat pumps are gaining popularity in Australia and New Zealand.

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