Oak Ridge In Hot Water

January/February 2005
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2005
        Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are taking on the second biggest energy user in the home—hot water. One way to minimize water-heating energy is to combine this technology with other energy-using devices.Two of ORNL’s current projects take this approach. One project uses the heat given off by refrigerators to help heat water and also to cool the house in the summer.The other project combines a water heater with a dehumidifier.A third project is aimed at effectively marketing new technologies, such as ORNL’s heat pump water heater (HPWH). Finally, a project has studied the efficiencies of hot water distribution systems and has made recommendations for improvements. Heating Water with Waste Heat          Cleaning the coils on the back of your refrigerator won’t save you any energy (see “Common Energy Myths,”HE Sept/Oct ’01 p. 33).However, researchers at ORNL,working together with Habitat for Humanity, have designed a home in the Harmony Heights subdivision in Lenoir City,Tennessee, that makes use of the heat from those refrigerator coils to heat water and cool a ...

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