Heat Pump Introduction

On the cusp of COP26, the 26th annual United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, homeowners in England and Wales at least are being offered Government grants of £5,000 from April 2022 as part payment to help them replace old gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps. The grants are part of the government’s £3.9bn plan to reduce carbon emissions from heating homes and other buildings. It is hoped no new gas boilers will be sold after 2035. The funding also aims to make social housing and public buildings more energy efficient. Experts have reportedly said that this budget is too low and the strategy not ambitious enough.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously outlined in November 2020 a Ten Point Plan for a new Green Industrial Revolution to create a range of sustainable outputs and 250,000 new jobs. Point 7 of this included the target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028. Whilst this huge prediction was met with a mixture of excitement and trepidation among industry professionals like the Heat Pump Federation and Ground Source Heat Pump Association , it was seen by many as overdue. What it will do is undoubtedly help the UK’s built environment industry combat climate change and contribute towards the slow move towards net zero and targets set by the Paris Agreement. That and this latest news also comes on the back of the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme which was already being extended by a year to March 2022.

But what, you might ask, is a Heat Pump? Well the Energy Saving Trust has a useful webpage with some introductory video guides that help explain that, and particularly in comparing and evaluation Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) against Ground Souce Heat Pumps (GSHP). Also, with financial support schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Green Homes Grant Scheme, installing a renewable heating system like a Heat Pump at home is becoming ever more cost effective.

In short, Heat Pumps are an effective and energy efficient way to create hot water to heat your home. They work by absorbing heat from a mass source and transferring it to a liquid, which is then compressed to increase the temperature further. The heat is transferred from the liquid into water which is used to provide heating for a property, either through radiators or underfloor heating.

The main difference between the two main types of heat pumps is simply where they get heat from: ASHPs absorb heat from the outside air, whereas GSHPs absorb heat from the ground – from a heat exchange with either vertical ‘bore holes’ or through horizontal ‘ground loops’. If a business or home happens to have on-site access to ground water, there is also the option of the Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP).

Watch these two Energy Saving Trust videos to find out how ASHPs andf GSHPs work – and also check out their blog on water source heat pumps :

Atoll Architecture can help advise you explore a range of energy efficient measures for your new home or extension, from simple cost neutral technology utilising good practice and energy-efficient materials, through to more complex eco system considerations such as Ground and Air Source Heat Pumps. Over the last 13 years, Atoll have helped design and install four new Air Sounce Heating Pumps that heat both swimming pool hall and pool hot water and one Ground Source Heat Pump for a new build house that provides both space heating, domestic hot water and swimming pool water heating.

The underlying sustainable ethos to Ian Banks’ interest goes back a long way and this was reinforced following his several years living and working as an architect in the sustainably vulnerable Maldives between 1986 and 1992. In fact: Ian’s first ever architectural design scheme was for a solar-heated swimming pool design, created as part of his A-graded Technical Drawing O-Level in 1976; his First Class Honours awarded architectural degree scheme for a Water Source Heat Pump and solar-heated Environmental Study Retreat at the derelict Porth Wen Brickworks in Anglesey – later featured in the ‘Crown Paints Awards’: National Travelling Exhibition of 1985; and his 1986 Diploma scheme for ‘Pomona Hippodrome’ Community Education Campus featuring a District Heating Scheme was later exhibited in the ‘New Voices in the City: Art & the Urban Environment’ exhibition at Manchester Town Hall in 1993.

Categories: Architecture

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