Conference Year



Load-based Testing, Heat Pump, Control Development, Performance Evaluation, Comfort Delivery


Space heating is one of the primary components of residential energy usage in the U.S., accounting for nearly 43% (EIA, 2015) of the total residential energy consumption. To reduce this energy usage, heat-pumps provide an energy-efficient alternative to currently prevalent systems such as electric heaters and gas furnaces. Advanced control strategies have the potential to further improve heat-pump system energy efficiency and comfort delivery. In recent years, advancements in the microprocessor field have made it possible to widely implement advanced energy-efficient controls within heat-pump systems. However, still only a very small fraction of residential air-conditioners and heat-pumps currently sold in the U.S. market utilize these next-generation controls (ACEEE, 2019). To facilitate an acceleration in the development and implementation of advanced control architectures within heat-pump equipment, a load-based testing methodology can be utilized. Load-based testing allows realistic dynamic behavior and performance evaluation of energy efficiency and comfort delivery for heat pumping and air conditioning equipment with embedded controls in a laboratory setting. In the load-based testing methodology, the sensible and latent loads of a representative residential building are emulated in the indoor psychrometric test room by dynamically varying the test room conditions utilizing a virtual building model. The test equipment responds dynamically to this virtual building with its embedded controls based on the thermostat sensing response. This enables engineers to evaluate the performance of a heat-pump in a controlled setting under dynamic conditions that are similar to a field application but with a significant reduction in testing time and cost. This paper demonstrates the application of load-based testing for evaluating the performance of a 5-ton split-type residential heat-pump with its integrated controls in a heating mode application. Furthermore, the effect of equipment oversizing and undersizing on the heat-pump energy consumption and comfort delivery are also presented.