Despite their name, heat pumps are low-carbon methods for cooling or heating buildings.
They work by extracting heat from the external environment and utilising an internal reverse refrigeration process to pump hot or cool air around a building. They can also reverse this, by removing hot air from the building and pumping it outside.
The heat can be extracted from the external air or ground. This determines whether the system is an air-source or ground-source heat pump. They can do this regardless of the season.
The heat extracted from the external environment is combined with grid-sourced electricity to boil system liquid and use that hot gas to heat the distribution system. That gas then condenses and is fed back into its original position to be reheated on a continuous basis.
Their efficiency is measured via a Coefficient of Performance (CoP). A CoP of 3.0, for example, means the heat pump outputs an amount of heat which would require three times more electricity than it requires to run. Determining a proposed system’s CoP is the route to understanding the monetary savings on offer.
Advantages and disadvantages of heat pumps
On the positive side, heat pumps are:
- Low maintenance
- Carbon efficient
- Durable, with a strong life span of 15-25 years
- Financially efficient in terms of running costs
- Government-supported via funding for smaller non-domestic buildings
- Able to reduce exposure to external energy market conditions
However, there are always disadvantages to consider. They are:
- Not 100% carbon neutral; they still require some grid electricity
- Complex to install
- Expensive up-front; although the energy crisis is driving down ROI periods
- Subject to planning permission requirements
How would heat pumps work for your business?
Heat pumps are growing in popularity, alongside other low-carbon and renewable technologies, due to the high cost of conventionally heating and running commercial buildings.
The gas price crisis has drastically shortened the payback periods on many of these technologies, meaning they have become far more attractive prospects to businesses. Equally, the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) provides grants ranging from £5,000 to £6,000 for small business premises and households looking at heat pumps and biomass installations.
The Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme (ECA) also allows businesses to claim 100 per cent of energy efficient technology investments against taxable profits in the year of purchase.
The First Year Allowance Scheme (FYA) allows businesses to deduct 50 per cent from the cost of some machinery from profits during the year of purchase. For each following year, 6 per cent of remaining cost will be written off via Writing Down Allowances.
Equally, energy suppliers are increasingly creating dedicated products to incentivise uptake of low-carbon technologies.
If your business is looking at improving energy security, lowering energy costs and reducing carbon emissions, heat pumps are a sure-fire way of achieving these things. Installation costs depend entirely on the size of the system.
Your business’ existing heating infrastructure can often be repurposed, depending on the type of installation. Existing radiators and piping are often suitable for use within a heat pump system.
Planning permission can be needed for some systems, but installers or project managers should be able to assist with this process. Procure Smart offers this as standard.
Each business’ potential savings profile is different and the viability of a heat pump solution will depend on this. Luckily, Procure Smart offers a free desktop feasibility study and turnkey solution on heat pumps and renewable technologies. Simply complete an enquiry form (below) to find out whether a heat pump could revolutionise your building’s heating system and costs.