Heat pumps useless in large proportion of UK homes
Although the government's climate protection targets include the widespread use of heat pumps, Bosch warns that in many homes the appliance is useless.
In the UK, the use of heat pumps doesn’t make sense for older houses that don’t have extensive insulation or are not detached – at least that’s what Bosch UK’s managing director warns. Bosch Worcester manufactures both heat pumps and gas boilers for the UK market and is one of the country’s largest central heating appliance providers, selling tens of thousands of units each year. According to Vonjy Rajakoba
cold seasons require well-insulated homes, plus heat pumps require space for both the outdoor unit and the tank, and plenty of UK homes meet neither requirement. However, according to data put out by the government, almost two-fifths of private flats were built before 1945, making them unsuitable for installing and operating heat pumps in them.
However, the mass spread of heat pumps is one of the most important elements of the British government’s plan to achieve „net zero” carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The goal would be to install 600,000 heat pumps annually until 2028, compared to the current 35,000. The process is so slow because, on the one hand, it is extremely expensive to install heat pumps, and on the other hand, there are increasing concerns regarding the equipment.
According to the Energy Saving Trust , a heat pump typically costs between £7,000 and £13,000 to buy and install. By comparison, a new gas boiler costs just £570 plus installation, The Eco Experts website states.
Vonjy Rajakoba, instead of heat pumps, recommends hydrogen-powered boilers as the solution for older houses and apartments, but a parliamentary committee believes that it would not be economically feasible to invest in hydrogen for the time being. Like Bosch, gas industry leaders also support hydrogen as a long-term solution for heating homes.
As previously reported by V4NA, it is not only in the UK that concerns about heat pumps are growing. A study revealed that less than half of residential buildings in Germany are suitable for efficient operation of the appliance. Although the devices can be installed even in some unsuitable buildings, residents will ultimately be economically worse off than with the current system.
The efficiency of an air source heat pump in an old building with an energy efficiency classification of „H” is 36 per cent lower than the performance of a heat pump in an „A++” class building. This has significant financial consequences:
in a class „H”, uninsulated house, the annual cost of gas heating amounted to approximately 4,520 euros during the study. On the other hand, residents would have to spend around 5,900 euros – 33 per cent more – to operate the alternative heating system.
The federal government wants to force the installation of heat pumps in newly built flats and to replace the current gas and oil heating systems with heat pumps in other households, as well. It also turned out that the careless installation of heat pumps in unsuitable buildings not only results in high operating costs, but also overloads the electrical network and thus the environment. In addition, a lot of equipment contains gases that are highly carcinogenic, so even a small leak could be life-threatening.