An in-depth Energy Saving Trust study shows heat pump performance has got better
A new study from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) has found that the performance and efficiency of heat pumps has improved following recommendations to design, installation and operation.
Technical data obtained from an indepth study of heat pumps at sites* across the UK has found that well-installed and operated heat pumps perform to a very high standard in UK homes.
According to the EST, homes best suited for heat pump installations could expect to earn savings and income of around £1,350** a year on air source heat pumps and around £3,000** a year
on ground source heat pumps.
The success of the heat pumps' performance during the study was underpinned by the experience of the users. Eighty per cent were satisfied with their heat pump's performance, while over three quarters (77 per cent) would recommend a heat pump to a friend, mainly because of its efficiency and running costs of the system.
The results build upon Phase 1 of the research, released by the EST in 2010, which identified recommendations for the industry and end-users to achieve better performance from the technology. The results from Phase 1 showed wide variation, with the bestperforming systems being those that were deemed to be properly designed and installed.
The latest study, conducted between 2010 and 2013, investigated these variations in performance, with interventions carried out to achieve improved performance from the heat pump installations. Overall 20 of the 32 heat pumps undergoing interventions between Phase 1 and this study achieved improvements in performance with the remainder achieving similar or slightly lower performance.
Effective heating solution
Jaryn Bradford, senior technical manager at the EST, said: 'Based upon the results of the study, we are convinced that heat pumps can play a significant role in providing an effective heating solution for homes and reducing carbon emissions.
'From the study, it is clear that heat pumps are sensitive to design, commissioning and how the householder uses the system. However, the
performance monitoring trials have provided early indications that the introduction of improved installation standards, amongst other things, will lead to improved performance.
'The interventions carried out during the study are an early indication of the successes that robust standards can achieve. If heat pumps were installed today under the current installer guidelines, alongside further customer guidance on operating the system, they would achieve even better performances than indicated in the study.
'The recent government announcement about the RHI is a positive step in the right direction. We have already seen an increased uptake in renewable heat technologies among householders, communities and businesses, and expect this to continue following the announcement about the financial incentives.
'The new savings and income figures alongside the recommendations from our study, can only help to encourage the increased uptake of heat pumps in the right homes across the UK.'
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: 'The Coalition is committed to helping hard pressed families with the cost of living.
'This study is a positive step forward. It shows that high standard renewable heating technologies can save households significant money on their energy bills, and help to produce
clean energy at the same time.
'I want to see more people reap the rewards that heating technologies have to offer. I recently launched the new Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) scheme for householders, which will incentivise people to invest in a range of exciting heating technologies and benefit from the clean heat produced.
'Energy Saving Trust's encouraging findings will certainly help to bolster consumer confidence in investing in this innovative technology.'
The RHI for householders is designed to drive forward the uptake of renewable heat technologies in homes across Britain to cut carbon, help meet renewables targets and save money on bills. In July, tariff levels were set at 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps and 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps, payable for seven years. Additional subsidies are also available to enable households to take up packages to monitor the efficiency of their heat pump.
After Phase 1 of the heat pump trials, the EST worked with relevant trade bodies, heat pump manufacturers, DECC and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) to improve heat pump installation guidelines and training. EST plans to work again with these relevant parties to help improve heat pump installation and product standards within the MCS using the findings from the latest study.
Supported by DECC
The heat pump study was supported by funding from DECC, the Energy Technologies Institute, EDF Energy, Npower, British Gas, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy, E.On UK, NIE Energy, Danfoss UK, NIBE and Mitsubishi Electric.
To view the EST's heat pump report - the heat is on: heat pump field trials phase 2 - visit http://bit.ly/17CacW5
To view DECC's technical version of the report visit http://bit.ly/1caO2fz
*44 heat pump sites were used across the UK, which included both high performing and poor-performing sites from Phase 1.
**Based on a four bedroom detached property with 250mm loft insulation and filled cavity walls (as per minimum requirements for RHI eligibility) with electric storage heating. The income is worked out based on the RHI tariff of 7.3p/kWh for renewable heat generated from air source heat pumps with an average SPF (H4) of 2.45; and 18.8p/kWh for renewable heat generated from ground source heat pumps with an average SPF (H4) of 2.82, based on the results from the EST's heat pump study. The savings may change depending on future changing fuel prices, which are not accounted for in the calculations.