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A preliminary evaluation of the performance of a consumer-based control system was conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Southwest Gas as part of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) authorized by the Department of Energy (DOE) (Mahderekaletal.2013). The goal of the research was to evaluate the low-cost approach as a solution for implementing a supervisory control system for a residential gas-operated heat pump.

The design incorporated two consumer-based microcontrollers; the ArduinoMega-2650 and the Beagle Bone(white). Ten five-ton (17.6kW) heat pump systems were designed, fabricated, and operationally tested in the Las Vegas, NV region. A robust data set was produced that allowed detailed assessment of the reliability and the operational performance of the newly developed control system. Experiences gained from the test provided important points of improvement for subsequent evolution of the heat pump technology.