Energy Saving Trust heat-pump field report identifies key issues

Energy Saving Trust, heat pumps

The industry has been quick to welcome the report from the Energy Saving Trust on a field trial of 83 domestic heat-pump as providing valuable information about the factors that affect the success of an installation — despite a third of the installations monitored achieving COPs of two or less. Kelly Butler, marketing director with BEAMA comments, ‘The interim conclusions are broadly in line with the trial’s expected outcomes and confirm what industry professionals were already aware of. For example, we are aware that heat pumps work optimally with low-temperature heat-distribution systems and are best suited to well insulated dwellings.’

Kelly Butler further comments, ‘For air- and ground-source heat pumps, the mid-range trials show a favourable CO2 performance compared to LPG and a marked reduction of 30% in CO2 emissions compared with oil heating systems.’ He explains that these figures are important because the initial heat-pump push will be largely targeted towards ‘off-gas’ dwellings where CO2-beneficial options are limited and the cost of fuel bills tends to be higher.

The Heat Pump Association (HPA) describes the trials as having been a steep learning curve for all involved owing to the difference from more traditional heating products, the variety of different heat-pump models and the ‘early adopters’ included. A statement from the HPA says, ‘The trials have established valuable pointers to performance factors requiring further analysis in the second phase that has been announced, so the report can be seen as work in progress. The trials also confirm the need for a significant increase in training for heat-pump installers in the design and installation of systems.’

John Kellett, general manager of the domestic heating systems division of Mitsubishi, says, ‘The EST results are not surprising, although some have chosen to interpret them as disappointing. If you look at the actual detail of the results, they clearly demonstrate that the technology can and does work in UK homes. ‘This report is timely in the evolution of the technology, as it is the first independent publication which identifies the key requirements in ensuring the correct application and use of heat pumps in the UK.

‘The main point of the report for me is that it reiterates what we as a manufacturer have been saying since we first entered the market three years ago — you have to ensure that the property has the appropriate levels of thermal insulation before you start. You then need to correctly size the system and the heat emitters, and you also need to educate the homeowner into how to get the best from their system.’

The EST report can be downloaded. Put ‘est a field trial of heat pumps’ into Google.

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