Many more customers are choosing to install an air source heat pump rather than a conventional gas or oil boiler when renewing their heating. We’re finding that customers are responding very positively to the fact that there are heat pumps available that can be attached to a conventional heating system and to a pre-existing house. Whereas most people find it too daunting to have their garden excavated for a ground source heat pump, many customers are choosing to invest in an air source heat pump. It seems the perception is that oil and gas prices will rise significantly over the coming years and people prefer to be reliant on electricity which can be generated in a more sustainable way from renewable sources. At R A Brown we’ve been surprised at the number of customers that, when they know the options, choose this type of heating.
Another aspect to this is increased interest from developers working on Housing Association building projects where heat pumps have been specified. The NIBE Exhaust air heat pumps are very suitable for these apartment or ‘compact’ house developments. One of the reasons behind the move towards heat pumps in these type of projects is the government’s Code for Sustainable homes that aims for new homes to be ‘zero carbon’ by 2016. The Code sets out a star rating system ranging from 1 – 6 with 6 being zero carbon. Currently gaining a Level 3 rating is a mandatory requirement for all publicly funded housing. One of the ways to achieve this rating is to include renewable energy heating into the design of social housing.
It’s interesting (and rather infuriating!) to note that while architects are specifying heat pumps on these projects they are not (in our experience) actually accommodating them in the design. For example in the past these type of compact apartments or houses would usually have had a wall mounted gas boiler in the kitchen. An exhaust air heat pump is a large (tall fridge freezer size) unit and hence more space needs to be allowed to accommodate it, probably in a utility area. Usually no utility area is planned into this type of property.
It is definitely a very positive move to work towards the eradication of fuel poverty in social housing stock as installing heat pumps in these projects will certainly help keep tenants fuel bills much lower.