The trial, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, involves the installation of an air source heat pump to replace the household’s existing heating system. If successful, the trial will be the first step in the roll out of technology aimed at reducing the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels, and will help the country in meeting its climate change targets in the process.
Air source heat pumps are truly smart technology - they work by absorbing heat from the air outside and this is possible even when the air temperature is as little as -15° C. The air is compressed to produce heat and this is then utilised as needed in the home for radiators, hot water, underfloor heating or air convectors.
The pumps fitted in the trial have been connected up to a smart grid system which effectively aggregates the energy that is produced in peoples’ homes. During peak demand times, the system is able to switch to the energy that has been stored, thereby reducing the demand on the National Grid, which is running near to capacity.
Domestic households in Greater Manchester are at present responsible for 36% of its total CO2 emissions. The new air source heat pumps have the potential to lower a home’s carbon emissions, depending of course on what system they have been installed to replace, and there are high hopes that they will help Greater Manchester meet its challenging target of reducing emissions by 48% by 2020 (versus levels in 1990).
Although air source heat pumps do require electricity to run and therefore have some impact on the environment, they are far more eco-friendly than conventional systems in that the heat they extract is continually renewed naturally. In addition to their environmental benefits, air source heat pumps can drive down a household’s fuel bills and they have the benefit of requiring minimal maintenance.
Although the trial systems have only been in place for a short time, there has already been positive feedback from the participants. While previous systems were observed to be inconsistent at heating the home and hot water, the new systems have been hailed as providing a more reliable, constant source of heat. The fitted meters which allow monitoring of the amount being spent on energy have also been welcomed – and the participants are already reporting the costs to be significantly less.
The technology used in the air source heat pump trial was developed by the Department of New Energy and Development Organisation (NEDO) in Japan, which has signed a deal worth an estimated £20m with Greater Manchester Combined Authority to trial the systems in the UK. However, UK households that aren’t participating in the trial can invest in the technology themselves and benefit from the potential savings. Earlier in November, Mitsubishi announced its latest offering in its Ecodan air source heat pump range, a model developed to be even more efficient than ever before. The FTC5, available from January 2015, is a smart buy – it has been designed to make substantial improvements in hot water recovery efficiency and time, and in heat loss performance.
The advancements in air source heat pump technology make this the perfect time for households to consider switching to a renewable energy system. Not only are there huge savings to be made in energy bills but households with an eligible system also benefit from payments under the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. Launched in April 2014, the scheme makes quarterly payments to households that use clean, green renewable heat at the rate of 7.3p/kWh.
Mitsubishi’s Ecodan range is an excellent choice for those considering investing in a pump to benefit from the RHI scheme. The Ecodan pumps were the first of their kind manufactured in the UK to be awarded the Eco Label and MCS (Micro Certification Scheme) certification. They are also the first pumps to offer intelligent room sensing as standard and to date, they remain the only air source heat pump to receive the Noise Abatement Society’s ‘Quiet Mark’. The new FTC5s can be fitted with an optional monitoring meter which makes households eligible for an extra £220 per year under the RHI scheme.
For information on our full range of pumps and related products, visit our homepage or call our expert team on 0808 168 6767.