Heat pumps allow you to harness a sustainable energy source to deliver low-cost heating and hot water all year round. Correctly specified and installed heat pumps provide >3kW of heat for every 1 kW of electricity that is used to power the pump*.
Key to a heat pump running in an environmentally way is the generation method for the electricity used to run it, changing to a renewable energy provider such as Good Energy ensures you are encouraging renewable generation and running your house from renewable energy in a way that gas or oil boiler can never achieve. When you combine both solar PV and a heat pump at your property, a combined income of savings, RHI and Feed-In tariff payments mean heating your home with renewable energy becomes not only environmentally sustainable but a great financial decision.
*We achieve 4.5/1 ratios in many locations (Ratios are often shown as a SCOP factor (Seasonal coefficient of performance) ie: a SCOP of 4.5.
Heat pumps qualify for the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which pays you for the heat you produce over the first 7 years of the system life – more than recovering the cost of investment. Heat pumps are more expensive to install than a gas or oil boiler but gas/oil boilers never recoup their initial cost and will be increasingly more expensive to run.
The RHI was increased in September 2017 from 7.63p/kWh to 10.18/kWh so for a house using 12,500 kWh/year a payment of £1272.50p will be generated.
How do heat pumps work?
A heat pump system is comprised of three main parts:
A refrigerant liquid with an extremely low boiling point is passed through a coil that is exposed to the outside air or to underground pipes. Even on a cold day the heat of the ambient air causes the liquid to boil and become a low-temperature, low-pressure gas. This gas is then compressed, which causes it to release the heat and turn back to a liquid. The heat is transferred to water in a heating circuit, which is used to run radiators, underfloor heating systems and provide hot water. The liquid repeats the cycle and the heat transfer process begins again.
Two thirds of the energy required in this process is taken from the ambient ground or air heat which is both renewable and free of charge. The remainder is provided from mains electricity or from on site renewable electricity sources such as solar PV.
Air source or ground source?
In the past the majority of heat pump installs were ground source but air source has overtaken as the technology has matured.
Ground source will run more efficiently in the colder months as the underground temperature stays more constant, it requires large ground loops or vertical bore holes to achieve this so is usually only possible on new builds or buildings with adjacent land that can be dug up for installation.
More common for retro-fit are air source that now achieve the SCOP we were used to seeing on ground source, are much cheaper to install and can be fitted in more locations, even though the outside air feels cold there is enough heat that the pump can run very efficiently through most of the year.
With a finite amount of resources available, a shift away from reliance on fossil fuels to heat our homes is underway and early adopters will benefit from the current incentives. According to the government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change, average household energy bills are expected to rise from £1,225 in 2012 to a potential £4,000 p/a by 2020 – an increase of over 300% in less than 7 years! This highlights the importance of insulating our buildings, generating more of our own energy and making the switch away from volatile priced, CO2 producing fossil fuel boilers to renewable heating systems.
|Average household energy bill per year|
|2020||£2,200 – £4,000+|