Heating Your First Commercial Building? 3 Types Of Commercial Heat Pumps & How They Work

If you are renovating an old industrial building or if you are building one from the ground up, then you are likely considering all of your options for what commercial heating system is right for your building. Of course, you want a system that is affordable to run, low maintenance, and reliable. While you have many commercial heating options, there are heat pumps designed for commercial use, and many can be also double as your cooling system when needed. Some are best added to a traditional commercial heating system to help lower your energy bill, while some work very well alone. 

Read on to learn about three types of commercial heat pumps, how they work, and the unique benefits of each. 

1. Commercial Air-Source Heat Pumps: Best for Businesses in Moderate Climates That Have Large Hot Water Needs

If your building is located in a moderate climate and will be housing a business with large hot water needs, then a commercial air-source heat pump is a great heating option. There are air-source heat pumps that double as water heaters in the summer, and they are often called heat-pump water heaters, or HPWHs. Heat-pump water heaters don't use more energy than traditional air-source heat pumps, because when they are on "cooling" mode in the summer, they simply transfer heat from the air into the water. 

Air-source heat pumps run on electricity, but they require much less electricity to run than traditional electric heating systems. The reason they need so little energy to run is due to how they work. They don't heat or cool the air alone, but instead simply shift air of a desirable temperature into your building, and, in the summer, HPWHs shift heat from the air into water. 

While they can be used to supplement duct-style heating systems or other traditional commercial heating systems in colder climates in the winter, there are better options for cold climates. 

2. Commercial Ground-Source Heat Pumps: Work Well in All Climates

Air-source heat pumps have limitations when heating buildings in cold climates due to the fact that they don't create heat, but instead shift it; there is not enough heat for them to harness from the air in very cold climates in the winter. However, ground-source heat pumps work very well in cold climates, because they draw heat from underground into a building through a network of pipes. 

The New Building Institute conducted a survey to see what type of commercial heat system was being used most by building owners who were identified to have winter energy bills that were 50 percent lower than the average code-compliant building. The survey revealed that 20 percent of the savvy building owners were currently using ground-source heat pumps to heat their buildings. In addition, an Illinois school district installed a ground-source heat pump in one of its schools to provide its heating needs and soon saw a 40 percent drop in the school's energy usage. 

3. Commercial Water-Source Heat Pumps: A Great Option for Buildings Near Small Bodies of Water

Another option for commercial buildings in cold climates is a water-source heat pump. Since its installation involves placing a series of pipes in a body of water, your building must be close to a body of water to take advantage of this heat pump; however, if your land has room for a man-made pond, then it can be worth checking with local ordinances to see if this energy-saving heat pump is an option for you.

Energy professionals suggest that closed-loop water-source heat pumps are a good option for large buildings. Not only can they heat the entire building in the winter and cool it in the summer, but both cooling and heating modes can be turned on simultaneously to allow heating and cooling of various building zones at the same time. 

If you are in the midst of renovating a commercial building or are building it from the ground up, then a big decision you have to make is what type of commercial heating system is best for your needs and climate. Heat pumps work very well in commercial buildings, so consider one to keep energy costs down and make your building more eco-friendly. For more information on your commercial heating options, contact a company like Mercury Tec.