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EST says more work needed on UK pump efficiency

The old and inefficient housing stock in the UK is one of the issues hindering the efficiency of air and ground source heat [umps, according to the Energy savings Trust.
Following the first phase of the most comprehensive field trial of the technologies ever undertaken in the UK , the Trust is calling on industry to improve installation techniques for heat pumps to ensure they become a quality and mainstream technology for householders.

The trial began in early 2009 and monitored both technical performance and customers’ experiences for a full 12 month period.

The trial concluded that many early installations were not designed or installed correctly and that improved training is required. It also found that the simpler the design, the more efficiently the system performed and that different domestic hot water requirements can have a huge impact on system efficiency.

The trial also found that heating controls for heat pump installations could be over-complicated with a failure to explain proper control requirements to both installers and heat pump customers.

Simon Green, head of business development for the Energy Saving Trust, says: “We have a responsibility to make sure that customers’ investments are spent on measures that lead to the greatest potential to save carbon and reduce energy bills.

“This trial shows that when installed and operated correctly, heat pump technologies will save significant amounts of CO2 in the UK, when replacing oil or traditional electric heating.

“Over its lifetime, a high performing heat pump installed today will save CO2 even when replacing gas condensing boilers due to the planned decarbonisation of the grid.

“But there is no doubt that the results are more varied than were expected, with results showing both high and low performing heat pumps.

“We are securing funding to extend the trial, with the objective of defining the reasons for variation in performance levels so that we can inform industry about good practice and advise householders on exactly what to look out for.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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