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LG looks to embrace UK hybrid heat appeal

Manufacturer says demand for its domestic air to water heat pump solutions in the UK is being supported by an shift towards having combined gas and electrical options in a home

LG said that it is seeing growing UK interest for hybrid heat solutions that can combine electric appliances such as its air to water heat pump technologies with traditional gas boilers.

Andy Hooper, heating manager for LG Airconditioning and Energy Solutions in the UK and Ireland, said that although the company’s heat pump products were still largely being adopted for domestic use in properties off the gas grid – demand was beginning to broaden.

Mr Hooper said one clear example of this was in interest for installing hybrid systems whereby a gas boiler was being retained in a property to provide hot water needs, while making use of air-to-water heat pumps to curb bills and carbon emissions.

LG has been involved in the heating sector for around four years. The manufacturer recent entry into the market was seen as an example of the potential for electric heat.

Mr Hooper said that the UK’s move by 2025 to match commitments by countries such as Germany and the Netherlands to eliminate use of fossil fuel heating in new build properties was creating a major new opportunity for the company with regard to heat pumps.

The 2025 commitment, which forms part of a major legislative commitment to eliminate or offset the country’s carbon emissions entirely by 2050 is anticipated to drastically change heating demand in the UK that is predominantly focused on gas at present.

Mr Hooper said that LG have been a major player in room air conditioning units for a very long time around Europe, with a move towards air to water heat pumps being a natural progression of the company’s operations.

The company said that the UK market for domestic air conditioning was not traditionally a significant source for demand. However, the large amount of heat demand has seen the group to push into the heat pump market with its 5 kW to 16 kW range of products intended to meet heating needs in residential properties.

Mr Hooper said that a majority of the company’s heat pump installations were presently in off-gas properties.

He added, “This is rightly so considering the cost of oil, as opposed to the cost of mains gas. What we are seeing as a shift though, is people who are installing hybrid systems.”

Mr Hooper said that one particular trend was for end users to retain a gas boiler, predominantly to generate hot water in a property, while relying on an air to water heat pump that is compatible with the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programme.

Adopting a hybrid approach allowed homeowners to reduce their overall gas demand for heating and the related costs, while curbing overall carbon emissions and ensuring a back-up solution for colder temperature periods, he added.

Subsidised support in the form of the RHI, or another potential successor scheme was seen by the company as an important driver for take-up in the UK.

Similarly, a cross industry decarbonisation pledge launched last month by BEAMA and a number of bigger HVAC manufacturers demanded a clear future role for government financial incentives  in order to realise greener heat supported by a diverse number of solutions.

Measures such as reducing VAT on products and solutions with proven low carbon potential were among potential mechanisms that government should consider adopting, according to the report.

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