Point-of-use electric hot water systems future proof

An RMIT University study has found that as we produce more green power, point-of-use electric hot water systems might be more environmentally friendly than gas hot water heaters.

Researchers from RMIT’s Centre for Design have for the first time compared the impact across the life cycle of a gas centralised hot water system with a point-of-use instant electric system in medium and high-density apartment buildings.

“Our findings show there are significant opportunities today, and in coming years, for point-of-use electric systems to perform better than gas and solar-boosted gas, in greenhouse gas emissions and energy demand,” says Alan Pears, Senior Lecturer in Environment and Planning at RMIT.

The study has revealed the need for greater flexibility in Australian building policies to support innovation in future-proof technologies.

“Because of their strong energy efficiency, point-of-use electric hot water systems could also be the choice to ensure future-proofing of developments, as future grid emission reductions combine with efficiency for strong environmental outcomes” says Alan.

While the study found gas currently scored better on greenhouse gas emissions in coal-reliant Victoria over the life cycle, the electric system could perform better with green power now and in coming decades (with more grid renewable energy).

Translating the findings to warmer states that have more green power feeding into their grids showed that the point-of-use system already performs better for average hot water use and on greenhouse gas emissions in the smaller building.

Read the full report here

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