Through the past few years, fuel used to generate electricity has climbed steadily in cost resulting in a new and much higher level of acceptance for the air to air heat pump system. Manufacturers have improved the product tremendously and have established a level of reliability approaching that of the conventional air conditioner. The fact that heat pumps reduce the cost of heating by 30% to 50% over conventional electric resistance heating and that natural gas is not available in many parts of the country has resulted in more and more heat pumps being installed in homes. While the benefits to the user are sufficient to economically justify the added cost of installing the heat pump system, it can be a long term disaster for the electric utility. As long as a utility has a summer peak, any type of space heating load that occurs only during the winter months is welcome; but when the utility becomes a winter peak company, it changes the situation. An electrically heated home with conventional insulation has a winter peak contribution 3 to 4 times greater than the summer peak contribution for air conditioning in the same home. The annual load factor for air conditioning in St. Louis, Missouri is about 11%. The annual load factor for electric resistance heating is about 13% and for the electric heat pump is 6% to 7%. It quickly becomes evident that if air conditioning caused a summer peak situation that was not manageable in todays high costs for generating plant and fuel, the problems associated with a future winter peak caused by todays' air to air heat pumps will be tremendously greater. One solution is the development of a heat pump system used in conjunction with thermal storage that will limit the demand for electricity during periods of extremely cold weather to the requirements of the heat pump only. There would be no supplemental electric heating installed in the system. Such a system would provide an ideal solution for both the home owner and the utility.

Meeting Name

4th Annual UMR-DNR Conference on Energy (1977: Oct. 11-13, Rolla, MO)

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings


Energy Usage In Builing Systems

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1977 University of Missouri--Rolla, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

13 Oct 1977