Don't leave heat pumps out in the cold


Drawing on ambient heat held in the environment using heat pump technology is just one of the fundamental concepts in the UK commitment to significantly increase reliance on renewable energy sources. Whilst this commitment is certain, the impact is lessened by present economic conditions which are inhibiting the ability of Government to fully fund widespread incentives to energy users adopting these technologies. This present lack of funding is causing uncertainty, resulting in initial delay in the take up of effective renewable energy sources.

But, of course, incentive scheme payments have no actual bearing on the physical effectiveness of renewable energy technologies. By focusing on their inherent immediate and permanent advantages energy users can avoid wasteful delay caused by the present tariff confusion. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) carried out a study involving both ground source and air source heat pumps that suggests that, if all 'off-gas' properties in the UK were fitted with a heat pump, there would be annual savings of 10 million tonnes of CO2, reducing annual bills by as much as £1.5 billion.

Businesses are at the forefront of Government thinking as current far reaching energy and climate change initiatives are rolled out and many are already assessing what renewable energy choices are available. In practical terms, because of the UK climate, heat pump technology is unlikely to provide all the answers and is best deployed by a business as part of a mix of solutions. The selection and integration of the most appropriate LZC and energy efficient technologies will take into account the purpose for which the heat is required, the geography of the location and the need for compatibility with existing heating systems.

Baxi Commercial Division, with its Andrews Water Heaters air source heat pumps, Potterton Commercial ground source heat pumps and gas absorption heat pumps, enables businesses to include these technologies in their renewable thinking. For example, by integrating a heat pump in a location with an under-floor space heating system using low temperatures, there would be substantially reduced demand on fossil fuels to meet the system set point temperature. Where the demand is for hot water, the heat pump would provide a cold water pre-heat solution, similarly reducing the amount of fuel required by the primary heating appliance to raise the water to the required storage level.

The Government has clearly positioned heat pump technology as a key player in the measures being introduced to combat climate change. Businesses are well aware that the inexorable increase in energy bills is adding impetus to the achievement of objectives, in some cases obligations, contained in building energy performance measures. By implementing a renewable energy source option, such as heat pumps, businesses can begin to accumulate real savings in fuel bills and help in the drive towards achieving the UK carbon reduction commitment. Action taken now is unlikely to damage any expectation of being able to benefit further when incentive payments are clarified.


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