For today’s modern building design, heat pumps provide a competitive energy cost solution for space and water heating. While this is true for standard designs or retrofits with strong insulation specifications, the advantage in cost savings is even more distinct when heat pumps are integrated with the passive building concepts of air tightness and low-temperature heating design.
Heat-pump action is 100% carbon free, and as a result, the building’s CO2 footprint is contingent on the electrical supply from the grid. Therefore, in the context of national CO2 reduction targets, heat-pump penetration into the market offers the best technology for completing the renewable-energy power generation and user consumption cycle. Heat pumps combined with a 100% renewable-powered grid may one day render a 100% free CO2 emission system. This would be in line with international long-term goals for 2050 and beyond.
In the near future, heat-pump market penetration can contribute towards medium-term reduction goals. This is evident in some EU countries, where governments incentivise installations through grants and reduced electrical utility tariffs. Today’s challenge is for heat pumps to outrank the efficiency of gas- or oil-condensing boilers as a converter of primary fossil fuel energy into building heat – both in terms of economic cost and CO2 emissions.
Culture and behavioural patterns are also a factor where homeowners need assurance that a comfortable domestic environment can be met without the necessity for traditional fire burners.