Raising the temperature on heat pumps

The contribution of heat pumps to energy efficiency was questioned by Graham Stringer today in Westminster. The MP for Blackley and Broughton said: “We must get assurances that heat pumps […]

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By Tom Gibson

The contribution of heat pumps to energy efficiency was questioned by Graham Stringer today in Westminster. The MP for Blackley and Broughton said: “We must get assurances that heat pumps will be worth the money. Research has shown that in some cases a heat pump has been as environmentally friendly as a gas-fuelled boiler.”

Charles Hendry, Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change responded in favour of the scheme: “Our view is that they are one of the most efficient ways of heating and cooling. The analysis past 2050 is that heat pumps will offer a low carbon alternative and reduce global CO2 by 6%.”

Heat pumps are being championed under the Renewable Heat Incentive, recently secured after the Comprehensive Spending Review. Mr Hendry did admit, however, that there had been teething problems with the heat pumps and their various forms:

There do remain issues with heat pumps. People have asked if they can be called renewable as they rely on electricity. It is true that in some cases the heat pumps ran so inefficiently that they did produce more carbon than gas boilers.”

He added: “We are commissioning a second round of field research and we hope to see much improvement. Building consumer confidence is important to this industry. We have to make sure we do so that it makes the contribution we hope it will.”

Heat production is responsible for around half of the energy demand consumed in the UK and roughly half of all UK’s carbon emissions.