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Energy Saving Trust heat pump report verdict: ‘Must try harder’

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) has released the first report on the use of heat pumps in the UK, containing positive and negative results.

While both ground and air source varieties were recorded working at efficiencies in excess of 3.0 coeffecient of performance (COP), the survey found others working at 1.2 and 1.3 COP.

The survey began in November 2008, which meant that technology was contemporary to that period, with installations accredited by the Clear Skies Programme, since replaced with the Microgeneration Certification System (MCS).

The study focused on a total of 83 installations, 54 ground source heat pumps and 29 air source systems in various locations. The installations were in a variety of housing examples, from private dwellings to social developments.

The EST described its survey as producing a ‘wide spectrum of findings’, but emphasised that the technology has already proven successful in Europe. It attributed the variation in results to contributory factors, including the design and quality of installations and how these matched with existing heating systems, while also highlighting poor use by some customers.

A thorough review of installation guidelines and training for installers was recommended, along with a more determined effort to educate customers in the proper use of heat pumps.

BSRIA head of energy and environment Reginald Brown said: “The right heat pump in the right place at the right time can save on heating costs and reduce carbon emissions. Achieving this in practice depends on everybody understanding the ground rules. BSRIA is helping to improve the situation through its work with the European Heat Pump Association and ConstructionSkills to develop installer training and certification.

“We also test heat pumps for the ECA and MCS schemes in our UKAS-accredited test facilities to ensure that their performance is as claimed by the manufacturers.”


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