Heat pumps in the commercial sector
Heat pumps are at the heart of the conversation when it comes to energy efficiency and decarbonisation in UK homes. A simple search reveals grants, use cases and a plethora of benefits. But the difference heat pumps can make in the commercial sector and their industry applications is enormous – as are the potential cost and energy savings when compared to other heating and cooling solutions.
How do heat pumps work?
Heat pumps transfer low temperature heat from a heat source, (e.g. renewable sources like ground, water or ambient air, or recovered heat from a building or process), and raise it to a higher temperature using a refrigeration cycle. They are usually categorised by the heat source they use and the heat sink, with the majority of heat pump products being air source.
Most of the heat pumps sold in the UK have electrically driven compressors, and due to the declining carbon intensity of the grid, now provide emission savings compared to the most efficient gas boilers. These savings will continue to increase as the grid decarbonises, which is currently planned for 2035.
The numbers tell a story
Heating building accounts for around 23% of the UK’s carbon emissions, 17% of which is attributed to UK homes. This explains, at least partially, the drive for heat pump use in UK homes. But with commercial buildings equating to around 4% of the carbon emitted from heating buildings, and industrial heating contributing a further 14%, there is a strong argument to take action now in the journey to Net Zero. You can read these findings in Catapult’s Guide to the Decarbonisation of Heat.
A deep dive into benefits
The UK has made heat pumps a key pillar of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, with a target of 600,000 installed heat pumps per year by 2028. This has driven significant research and development, as well as innovative financing mechanisms to reduce the cost for installers and consumers. You can read more on the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy here.
When combined with low-carbon electricity, heat pumps are a proven method for reducing emissions and improving energy efficiency. While gas may be cheaper than electricity, a well installed heat pump provides 300% more useful heat than the electricity it consumes, making it cost competitive versus gas.
Heat pumps and the ETL
There is sizeable growth in heat pump deployment in commercial industry where they provide significant space and water heating for commercial buildings, as well as heat for industrial processes. Paybacks for commercial heat pumps can also be considerable, particularly when used to replace end-of-life equipment and when used for both process heating and process cooling.
When replacing equipment, it’s tempting to opt for equipment with the lowest capital cost. However, such immediate cost savings may prove to be a false economy. Considering higher energy efficient products means that life cycle costs are reduced, improving cash flow in the longer term.
This is where the ETL can help. In addition to the long-term financial savings, upgrading or replacing equipment with high efficiency products listed on the ETL provide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings through the reduced demand for energy – improving your environmental performance in the long run.
Find more information about heat pumps on the ETL here.
New to ETL? Purchasers can browse the ETL here, and manufacturers can gain independent verification by registering today.
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