Ducted & Ductless Mini-Splits for Cooling Existing Homes


With California's highly varied climate and housing stock, under what conditions might a mini-split heat pump be an appropriate cooling system for homes undergoing phased or "all at once" energy upgrades? In many parts of the world, mini-split heat pumps are the norm because of their simplicity, high performance, quiet operation, and ability to provide zoned cooling. However, given Americans' expectations for central air-conditioning, what barriers can we expect to encounter when using more efficient, but less familiar, mini-splits to meet reduced cooling loads in small or efficient homes?

This webinar builds on a previous two-part webinar, "Ductless Heat Pumps: Applications for Northern California & Low Energy Homes" - home performance contractor Dave Robinson presented his experience installing ducted mini-splits in energy-wise retrofitted homes in Fresno, California, with the goal of providing comfortable, efficient cooling that is also acceptable to home buyers, lenders, and occupants. In addition, researcher Danny Parker will share monitored results from using a mini-split in his home in Florida, and other homes, and discuss impacts on room-by-room comfort, customer satisfaction, and peak energy use.

By participating in this webinar, attendees will

  1. Learn about both ducted and ductless approaches to installing mini-split heat pumps in existing U.S. homes.
  2. Have a better understanding of how mini-splits can complement other energy upgrade measures to reduce cooling energy use and deliver comfort.
  3. Be able to recognize homeowner perceptions and operational issues that may affect a successful mini-split installation.
  4. Have a clearer understanding of what we know and do not know about energy use, cooling performance, and peak energy demand of mini-splits in cooling applications.


Danny Parker, Presenter

Danny Parker is principal research scientist at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), working with DOE's Building America program to determine how to achieve zero net energy homes. He collects and analyzes measured data to determine how efficiency and renewable sources can dramatically lower buildings' energy needs. With 30 years of experience in building systems research, Danny has been involved in evaluations of advanced technologies in buildings, from laboratory studies to large-scale utility monitoring projects. He is very enthusiastic for the Zero Energy Home mission--he lives in one that is largely conditioned by a high efficiency mini-split heat pump.

Dave Robinson, Presenter

Building on 30 years as a remodeling, HVAC, and home performance contractor, Dave Robinson's latest venture involves buying and conducting energy-wise retrofits of foreclosed homes. The fifteen homes that his company, GreenEarthEquities (http://greenearthequities.com) has "flipped" so far provide Dave the opportunity to field test various home energy upgrade strategies. Among other innovations, five homes are heated and cooled by a two-ton mini-split heat pump, which Dave has installed using a combination of ductless and ducted configurations. In this webinar, Dave will share lessons learned to date, including his conviction to keep ducts within the building enclosure. In Fresno's hot (2,400 cooling degree day) climate, the mini-splits have performed well at a lower cost, for both initial installation and monthly energy consumption, than conventional HVAC systems in similar homes.