The mission of Lutfey Innovations is to create simple yet effective products to reduce energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings. Our belief is that using existing heat sources inside a building is the best place to start when reducing the fuel demands. Here are some of our current projects:
Ground Source Heat Pump Water Heater:
Traditional ground source heat pumps use a series of pipes buried underground to collect underground heat in order to heat water for various uses. While this setup is very efficient to operate, the major drawback is the expense and inconvenience of installing the pipes. Our version utilizes the basement floor as a heat source. The first prototype above shows all the components. The tank on the right is filled with an antifreeze/water mixture and the left tank is the hot water tank. The heat pump in the middle transfers heat into the hot water tank. The tank on the right cools down and passively absorbs heat from the concrete floor.
This design gives the benefits of a traditional ground source heat pump without the need to bury pipes near the structure. It will also have a cost similar to an electric hot water heater.
In this setup, 170 liters of water and 378 liters of antifreeze were heated and cooled with a heat pump for 6 1/2 hours. Both tanks were approximately the same temperature as the concrete floor.
The next chart shows the efficiency of the tanks. This is measured by calculating the thermal energy in kiloJoules ( Q = m * c * delta T) divided by the amount of energy used for each time interval (1 kwh = 3600 kJ). To put this chart in perspective, the efficiency of a hot water heater will never be greater than 1.
Utilizing Attic Heat To Heat Water:
An often overlooked source of heat is the attic of a house. Our plan is to extract this energy and use it to heat water. This has the benefits of cooling the attic area (thereby reducing the need for air conditioning) and heating water for use inside the house. The design uses the same materials used in radiant floor heating placed on the ceiling of the attic. Cold water is then pumped through the tubes and collected in the hot water tank in the basement. This design is inexpensive, low maintenance, and located inside the house. For more information, check out the Lutfey Loop page.
The Black Remote:
A remote control cradle is used to physically turn off a television and related components to save energy. When the remote is removed from the cradle power is turned on to all the components plugged into the Black Remote. Placing the remote into the cradle shuts off all the power to the devices. When used properly it eliminated the phantom (or vampire) energy loss. For more information, check out the BlackRemote.com website