SPECIFIER REVIEW
Taking a positive approach to energy effficiency

Taking a positive approach to energy effficiency

Chris Dale, Director of Danfoss Ltd, looks at why air source heat pumps are increasingly being specified for new developments.

“Building requirements, such as the Code for Sustainable Homes, mean that renewable energy has very much come to the forefront when planning new developments.

In the past, the increased cost of a heat pump fitted into a property over a conventional boiler may have deterred their use in new developments.  However, with homebuyers becoming increasingly concerned over their carbon footprint, developers are taking a long term view and using heat pumps to gain a competitive advantage, by demonstrating to potential buyers how their properties will be much more affordable to run in the long term.

Air source heat pumps are helping developers to meet the energy requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes, due to the credits that can be gained for selecting renewable technologies.  As we move towards the planned carbon zero requirements of 2016, this trend towards renewable energy looks set to continue.

Research shows that around 4m people in this country are in fuel poverty, which is approximately 18% of the population.  Many of these households are in ‘off gas’ areas, where residents are even more vulnerable due to their reliance on oil or LPG and therefore more susceptible to fluctuations in price.  Developers that are building in off-gas areas are increasingly opting for heat pump technology to help buyers avoid the escalating cost of oil.

Air source heat pumps are a popular choice, as the latest technology ensures better performance than ever before.  This includes having improved seasonal performance, with the heat pumps working to external temperatures as low as -20OC.  The new generation of heat pumps also offer lower noise levels, for example, with the Danfoss DHP-AQ it is designed in such a way so as to minimise the vibration and noise levels.  In addition, they have been designed to be more aesthetically appealing, which is important due to their location outside a property.  Some of the latest air source heat pumps have compact designs and minimalist styling to minimise their visual impact and enhance their aesthetics.

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Air source heat pumps are being widely specified for new builds to reduce energy bills and make homes less reliant on fossil fuels.  Recently, the developers of The Bay, an exclusive collection of holiday cottages in Filey, North Yorkshire gave homebuyers the option to upgrade their new properties with heat pumps and solar PV.  More than half of homebuyers decided to take up the option, as they recognised how they could offset their energy bills over the long term, which just goes to show how renewable technologies help to make homes more saleable.  The homes were built using a modern Energy Block system, which offers high levels of insulation and also helps to optimise the running of the heat pump.  The homes achieve level four on the Code for Sustainable Homes, providing excellent energy efficiency.

The trend towards renewables continues around the country, especially in light of recent energy price rises combined with the desire for developers to reduce the carbon footprint of their properties. Many builders and developers are finding that this form of renewable energy system is also making homes more attractive to buyers, who recognise the immediate savings they can make.

Technological advances in air source heat pumps means that the households of the future will be less reliant on fossil fuels and more capable of generating their own heating and hot water from the space or ground outside their homes.  As the housing market starts to pick up, it is the new homes which offer added-value features, such as air source heat pumps, which are set to appeal to the cost and environmentally-conscious buyer.”

More advice can be found on the website www.heatpumps.danfoss.co.uk or by calling: 0114 270 3900.

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