Efficiency is a staple of the Energy Star program. Replacing older energy- guzzling appliances not only lowers greenhouse emissions but lowers homeowners’ energy bills. Stiebel Eltron has introduced another tool to the homeowners’ arsenal with the Accelera 300 electric heat pump water heater.
The new Stiebel Eltron concept Accelera 300, profiled in the October 2009 issue of Qualified Remodeler, works like an air conditioner but instead of dumping the heat outdoors, it puts it into the 80-gal. tank of water. The Accelera’s compressor and fan consume only 1 kWh of electricity to generate the heat equivalent of 3 to 5 kWh.
“There are great efficiencies with the heat pump,” says Bill Riley, sales and marketing specialist for Stiebel Eltron. “The units are between 300 and 500 percent efficient and they’re taking only a small amount of energy to run the compressor and fan. By gathering the energy in the air around it, these units are able to save up to 80 percent on the energy requirements needed to power the unit and the output for heating the water.”
The Accelera 300 has, at its base, an 80-gal. tank and is topped with a room-sized air conditioner with a 6,800-Btu capacity. Instead of just pushing the hot air out from the air-conditioning process, the hot air is trapped and enhanced through the condenser that wraps around the tank on the outside. The refrigerant then circulates and intensifies the heat, in turn heating the water inside the tank. The added benefit is that the ambient air, say in a basement, can be cooled and dehumidified.
The mainstay for Stiebel Eltron is its tankless water heaters. The Tempra Series is designed for whole-house use while the DHC Series is for single, point-of-use installation. The Tempra, available in an electric version, has come out with a new generation with updated electronics and other innovations such as automatic flow control.
To be warned, Accelera 300’s tanks are a little bulky. As far as transferring the tank, it’s important to make sure that it can physically fit into the space intended. Since the units come loaded with refrigerant, they can’t be tipped too much or be laid down flat for any length of time. It is also important to install the Accelera 300 in an area where there is a great deal of ambient air around the tanks so that they can capitalize on the needed air.
Stiebel Eltron’s headquarters in Germany currently has a whole pallet of programs going on for future products and innovations. Besides the recently updated Tempra Series, the company will look at its current European products that would be a good fit in the U.S. market. Among them may be geothermal type heat pumps, which are doing very well in Europe according to Riley.
- GE Appliances’ GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater uses advanced heat pump technology combined with traditional electric elements and is Energy Star qualified. Type #68 in E-Inquiry Form
- The Rheem heat pump water heater has over twice the efficiency of standard electric water heaters and qualifies for federal tax credits through December 2010. Type #69 in E-Inquiry Form