Heat Pump Solutions: Who needs gas?

With the media currently focusing its attention on the soaring cost of energy, the conversation around heat pump technology is becoming more prevalent in our project design conversations. Ella Pope, from Scotch Partners, took some time to talk to Callum Jarrald from Mitsubishi Electric following his presentation to the company to find out a bit more about heat pump solutions, the challenges around using them and what is coming from the technology in the near future.

 What do you think are the biggest challenges when looking at all electric heat pump solutions for buildings?

There are a few hurdles that crop up quite regularly. The first, especially in London, is just finding external space with decent airflow to it, another is meeting noise criteria. There’s also often a bit of nervousness from clients in terms of stepping away from their tried and tested gas boilers! However as more and more all electric schemes get on site and they can see they’re not on untrodden ground, and there’s a solid design in place they’re generally reassured.

There are currently many different options for applying heat pump technology to buildings, and there is a lot of variation across the industry in terms of strategy. How would you suggest that people approach the feasibility stage of a project when looking at using air source heat pump technology?

It’s important to fully understand the demands of the building and I’d say it’s worth engaging with a manufacturer fairly early in the process to get a steer from them. They’ll generally have seen a number of similar projects and will be able to comment on proposed strategies, and give an idea of which solutions would be most appropriate dependent on a particular project’s drivers.

With the release of the new Part L document, and ever-increasing targets on efficiencies, do you think people should be more confident in stating proposed efficiencies for equipment at design stage?

Absolutely. It’s worth noting that using heat pumps in larger schemes is still a relatively new concept and so we don’t have a huge amount of working data from live sites as it stands, hopefully as more sites go live and we collect more working data we’ll be able to more accurately map how different heat pumps can operate together and be more assured on achievable efficiencies.

What do you think is next for heat pump technology?

The aim at the moment with the climate crisis being front and centre of the news is to move towards lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants and trying to reduce and track embodied carbon in our systems. However, the struggle with looking into other refrigerant types is that they may be lower GWP but may then cause other issues, such as lower efficiency, higher cost, or flammability! It’s a bit of a balancing act to try and find the best future refrigerant.


If you are considering all electric heating and cooling solutions for your next project, feel free to give Ella a call on +44 (0) 203 544 5400 or email ella.pope@scotchpartners.com.

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