Tag Archives: heat pumps

Origen appoints Paul Begadon

Paul Begadon, Origen Energy

Paul Begadon has moved from Hevac to sister-company Origen Energy where he is now responsible for the design, sale, installation, and maintenance of both commercial and residential energy systems including combined heat and power (CHP), heat pumps, solar systems, district heating, and mechanical heat recovery ventilation (MVHR). Origen are one of Ireland’s leading suppliers to the renewable energy industry.

Paul’s role with Origen entails the design, sale, installation, and maintenance of both commercial and residential energy systems including combined heat and power (CHP), heat pumps, solar systems, district heating, and mechanical heat recovery ventilation (MVHR). Paul previously served as a heavy vehicle mechanic with the Irish Defence Forces for nine years, while also completing his degree part-time in Energy and Environmental Engineering at ITT Dublin.

Contact: Paul Begadon, Origen Energy. Tel: 01 – 419 1919; email: paul.begadon@origen.ie

Revision to EN 378 Now in Force

The Institute of Refrigeration Ireland (IRI) sits on the EN 378 Technical Committee and the Working Group, and both continue to meet two or three times per year to address outstanding queries and ongoing developments relating to the Standard. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in Aachen in November 2017.

Familiarity with EN 378:2016 is crucial for companies who design, construct, install, commission, operate, maintain or use vapour compression systems for refrigeration, air-conditioning, heat pumps and chillers.

The Standard is published in four parts and, thanks to IRI’s active participation in the Working Group and its engagement with the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), it has secured a very significant discounted price of €155 for IRI members for the full set of four parts. As far as IRI is aware, this is the lowest price for the Standard in any EU member state, even with the IRI membership fee included!

It is worth noting that Part 2 (and the introduction, terms and definitions of Part 1) of EN 378 are harmonised with the Pressure Equipment Directive and the Machinery Directive. In fact, one of the drivers for the revision was to better align EN 378 with the Pressure Equipment Directive which has itself also been revised.

Members wishing to purchase a copy of the four parts of the EN 378:2016 Standard should contact the NSAI directly. Simply send an email with your name and IRI membership number to info@ standards.ie and quote “special IRI members’ discount for IS EN 378 Parts 1 to 4: 2016”. Alternatively call NSAI at 01- 857 6730.

JOIN THE IRI                                                                                                                                                             If you are not a member of the IRI and wish to avail of the offer then contact the Institute of Refrigeration Ireland. You can join by calling 0402 – 23586, or by emailing info@ instituteofrefrigerationireland.ie

Can you hear the Eco?

Cover square webIf not, then you are not listening. Contrary to what some commentators would have you believe, the building services industry is behaving in a very responsible manner when it comes to the environment, sustainability and energy saving.

The issue of Building Services News is awash with evidence of the sector’s determination not just to help Ireland realise its EU 2020 obligations, but also to honour the spirit of its objectives.

In addition to a wealth of information on all manner of innovative product developments from individual companies, there are also articles from leading regulatory bodies and industry representative associations pointing the way forward.

System designers, contractors, installers and other key decision-makers will find a wealth of advice, guidance and informed opinion in this latest issue of Building Services News. To Hear the Eco log on to issuu.com/patlehane/docs/bsnews_jan_feb_2017_web_file

Why heat pumps? — cost, comfort and the environment

Paul Kenny, Chief Executive Officer, Tipperary Energy Agency.

Paul Kenny, Chief Executive Officer,
Tipperary Energy Agency.

However, based on the heat road map for Europe that shows heat pumps are a core technology for decarbonising heat,and considering that 20% of Swedish homes are heated by heat pumps, it is clear that heat pump technology works, even in cold climates. This view is endorsed by many industry experts. So, why should someone install an air source heat pump to heat their home, and what are the key considerations? There are three reasons – cost, comfort and the environment — writes Paul Kenny, Chief Executive Officer, Tipperary Energy Agency.

First of all, I’d like to dispel some myths:

• Heat pumps (the majority of the Irish market players use R410a) work down to minus 20ºC;

• Ireland isn’t that cold, with average winter temperatures of 7ºC and the mean daily minimum above 2ºC all year round;

• Heat pumps work really well at 7ºC air temperature and 35ºC flow temperature (typically COP of 4.5 in the lab, and over 4 in real world applications);

• There is no need for a back-up immersion or boiler. We do generally ensure a high-efficiency stove is installed in our retrofitted buildings, but we find most people don’t use them with cheap even heat from the heat pump;

• Radiators are not radiators, they are really convectors, and they put out heat at all temperatures above the room temperature they are located in. So, if the boiler used to run for six hours and now runs for 24 hours, the flow temperature versus room temperature can come down by 75%, eg 60ºC to 30ºC (room at 20ºC);

• Heat pumps can heat water to 55ºC, and a top-up heating cycle using an existing immersion heater for legionella control uses a few kWh per annum when required.

The methodology employed by Superhomes is to design and install ASHPs into radiators that are oversized in comparison to typical radiators, i.e. low-temperature radiators. This allows a higher heat output at lower flow and return temperature. The design of the emitters allows the heat pump run at about 31ºC, 27ºC return at 7ºC external temperature. The heat pumps are commissioned to be “always on”, thereby maintaining a steady indoor temperature at the desired set point.

Therefore, the heat pump only needs to replace the energy that is lost from the building fabric – typically 2-3 kW at 7ºC. The resultant impact on the heat pump is that the required output per radiator is generally only 150-300w and minimises the flow temperature (maximising efficiency), resulting in typical heating (not hot water) performance of between 3.3 and 3.6 average co-efficient of performance throughout the heating season.

Using an average delivered energy cost of 11c/kWh (40% night and 60% day rate, bonkers.ie 14/01/17), this delivers heat at a little over 3.1c/kWh. Compare this to natural gas (86% efficiency and standing charge €92 split of 15MWh) of 6.4c/kWh, and oil (59c/l) at 9.2c/kWh delivered into the house. The ongoing heat cost is one third of oil and half that of gas. For those knowledgeable in energy price predictions, the likelihood of oil and gas rising versus electricity is likely to continue.

Hot water heating cycles typically rise from 30ºC flow temperature to 58-60ºC flow temperature and do have a lower co-efficient of performance than heating, typically about 2.4-2.6 over a season. This, usually completed at night for the bulk of heating (80% night (6.6c), 20% day (14c)) results in a net heat cost of 3.25c/kWh, similar to heating, and similar margins below the alternate fossil fuels.

In conjunction with the installation of an air source heat pump, and steady interior temperatures, air leakage must be reduced, ideally to an air change rate of 3-5 air changes per hour under 50 pascals of pressure, corresponding to an average rate of 0.15-0.25 air changes from infiltration in typical conditions.

Once this is achieved a designed ventilation system must be used. In the case of Superhomes, demand control ventilation is employed. This designed mechanical extract system ensures a steady, low and controlled flow of fresh air into the dwelling.

The impact of this commissioning to maintain a constant temperature in the dwelling has a number of “symptoms”. Steady air temperatures encourage walls to rise to a more even higher temperature, thereby lowering the radiative heat loss from people to surrounding surfaces and adding to the feeling of comfort. This also increases the interior temperature at thermal bridges, thereby increasing the dew point of condensation, and lowering the likelihood of condensation, mould and ill health. Coupled with the ventilation system, almost all the surveyed participants in Superhomes report that they have noticed a significant reduction in condensation.

Finally, the carbon performance of homes utilising heat pumps versus oil and gas should be understood in the context of steadiliy-decreasing carbon content of electricity. It is currently 467g CO2/ kWh of electricity, 205 for natural gas, 257 for kerosene, 229 for LPG. Forecasting this to 2030, it is, in the absence of peat and coal thermal plants and with increasing renewable electricity, likely to be below 300g/kWh CO2. Utilising an average heating and hot water COP of 3.2 (this is being achieved on an annual basis in Superhomes houses) we can see that the carbon per net kWh of heat from a heat pump will be 145 in 2015 and 90g/ kWh in 2030, versus natural gas (86% efficient boiler) at 238, and 266 and 299 for LPG and kerosene heating oil respectively. So, this equates to a 39% and 58% cut today per net kWh and a 60-70% cut by 2030.

Without getting too technical, this also puts the carbon emissions of the individual houses into the European emissions trading scheme, which moves them from the state’s carbon balance sheet and also, in theory, in  a cap and trade marketplace, pushes out higher polluting carbon-intensive electricity sources.

In a new build situation, the marginal cost of installing a heat pump, appropriate cylinder and potentially larger radiators versus gas + connection or oil + tank is likely to be similar in cost to that of the photovoltaics required with the gas or oil boiler for compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations. The savings will ensure that even outside of compliance, investment will be returned in the first three to five years at worst.

The insulation or buffering from energy price increases is also worth some peace of mind. In terms of retrofit, the economic case is slightly less generous. The catch is that the cost of a retrofit of this nature – including the airtightness measures, the ventilation system and the heat pump – is unlikely to be less than €15,000. Over the next 20 years this is about €3.75 per heating day, gobbling up about 50% -70% of the savings. If we take energy price inflation into account, using the last 15 years as an indication of the next 15, this is likely to break even in 10 to 12 years. A 35% SEAI grant, available within the Superhomes programme, will bring this to seven to ten years.

So, economically home-owners will not win or lose in the short-term, but environmentally and from a comfort point of view, they will be significantly better off, as will their children going forward.

Heat pumps – time to move to ‘system integration’

 Thomas Nowak, Secretary General

Thomas Nowak, Secretary General

In Ireland, the Heat Pump Association’s sales figures for 2015 fully reflect this pattern, showing an increase of 67.76% on the previous year, making for a total of 3902 units sold. Indications for the first six months of 2016 are for another bumper year in store. This overall growth is mainly driven by the strong segment of air-sourced heat pumps, a renewable technology that finds increasing attention in European and national statistics, according to EPHA.

Geographically, most of the growth can be attributed to increased sales in countries such as Spain (+15%), Italy (+20%) and France (+8%). However, as indicated, Ireland had by far the greatest percentage growth, albeit from a lower starting point. “These figures could increase further in these countries if an appropriate framework would be set at EU level to account for renewable cooling“, commented Pascal Westring, EHPA expert in statistics. This issue is being addressed by the Commission this year, with the Heating & Cooling Strategy and revision of the Renewable Energy Directive.

“Technology-neutrality”                                                                                                             Looking at the sales potential identified by EHPA, if European markets would reach the same maturity level as the Swedish one, the European heat pump stock could realistically grow to 60 million units, enough to replace today’s imported Russian gas for heating purposes.

“We are not yet there”, says Thomas Nowak, Secretary General of EHPA, “but interest in heat pump technology is on the rise across Europe. A growing number of experts conclude that decarbonisation of the heating sector is impossible without heat pumps.

“Civil society is also turning to the technology. We see a growing number of cities applying to our ‘heat pump city of the year award’. Yet, EU policy-makers prefer to remain technology-neutral. Instead, they should create framework conditions that favour the most efficient and best performing technologies. When the state of our planet requires immediate action, high ambition must be the answer.”

Integrated solutions = heat pumps                                                                                                               Thomas Nowak added: “A catchy word in Brussels energy discussion nowadays is ‘integrated approach’. Heat pumps are the perfect system integration technology for a resilient Energy Union. They are a bridge between the electricity and the thermal sector, between heating and cooling. They can be combined with residual heat, district heating, cogeneration and other RES solutions. Maybe system integration could be the new way forward to unleash the potential of heat pumps”

EHPA Key policy messages                                                                                                                             Meeting EU’s climate and energy goals entails the decarbonisation of the heating sector. The latter requires a full decarbonisation of the building sector by 2050. According to several studies, this can only be achieved in time by exploiting the full potential of heat pumps, the most efficient and renewable technologies.

Due to the “lock-in” effect of investment in thermal appliances, heat pumps need to be given strong political recognition as of today. This means:

• Heat pumps need to be openly supported by policy makers to reassure consumers and investors. Best available technologies must be promoted in EU and national policies, on  the basis of a consumer-friendly energy label (that has no empty ‘A’ class and compares functionally-equivalent products);

• Heat pumps need a stimulating climate-friendly regulatory framework, such as strong building requirements, policies to foster the renovation sector, defined phase-down objectives for fossil fuel boilers, and a forward-looking primary energy factor;

• Heat pumps play a key role in system integration and should be valued and promoted. They offer huge flexibility potential through demand-response and thermal storage.

Strengthened portfolio expands GT Phelan offering

Derek Phelan, Sales & Marketing Director with Kevin Phelan, Operations & Service Director, and Rodney Phelan, Managing Director.

Derek Phelan, Sales & Marketing Director with Kevin Phelan, Operations & Service Director, and
Rodney Phelan, Managing Director.

Already synonymous with Toshiba throughout Ireland for just on 35 years, the addition of Samsung in January of this year makes for a far stronger and more diverse, product offering. Both Toshiba and Samsung are recognised market-leading brands and they sit very comfortably as complementary entities within the GT Phelan portfolio.

Indeed, GT Phelan is a renowned brand in itself, serving the industry’s needs in Ireland since 1981. Founder Gerry Phelan was instrumental in establishing and spearheading the company’s early growth and his sons – Kevin, Derek and Rodney – have been very much an integral part of its expansion and development since taking the reins.

All are directors of the company and GT Phelan is every bit a service provider as it is a product supplier. Its objective is to clearly identify the clients requirement, and then to help the consultant and dealer devise the most energy-efficient solution that offers value for money and trouble-free operation.

GT Phelan is one of a handful of independent building services companies in Ireland who pioneered the introduction of air conditioning to Ireland back in the early 1980s. Since then it has played a major role in developing and shaping what was originally an insignificant market segment into the multi-million euro business it represents today.

As product innovations and technological developments were introduced, GT Phelan not only embraced them but championed their adoption by the industry at large. While conscious of its longevity and history, the emphasis has always been on satisfying current market requirements while, at the same time, looking to future solutions.

In essence, GT Phelan brings all the benefits and massive resources of Toshiba and Samsung to bear when using its own considerable experience and expertise to devise tailor-made solutions for the conditions which prevail in Ireland.

Contact: Derek Phelan, GT Phelan. Tel: 01 – 286 4377; info@gtphelan.ie; www.gtphelan.ie

Welcome new approach to heat pumps in DEAP

HPA SQUARE logoIn a move that has been wholeheartedly welcomed by the sector, SEAI has updated the methodology for heat pumps in the Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP).

The approach to heat pumps now applicable in DEAP is based on mandatory performance requirements for heat pumps across Europe under the Ecodesign (2009/125/EC) and Labelling (2010/30/EU) European directives.

This update uses test data to standards IS EN 14825-2013 for space heating and IS EN 16147- 2011 for water heating and derives seasonal performance data for entry in DEAP based on IS EN 15316-4-2-2008.

These directives are a legal requirement for heat pumps placed on the market from 26th September 2015. Where heat pumps are not required to comply with and do not comply with those directives, then the methodology uses the current approach in DEAP V3.2.

Lawlor appointed Toshiba Sales Manager for Ireland

Ken Lawlor, Toshiba Sales Manager for Ireland

Ken Lawlor, Toshiba Sales Manager for Ireland

Toshiba has appointed Ken Lawlor as Sales Manager for Ireland to spearhead further market penetration and growth of the brand. With a brief to develop both the distribution and direct sales channel, Ken will work closely with long-established Toshiba distributor GT Phelan.

Ken Lawlor said: “Due to the excellent work of our distributors over many years, Toshiba has a fantastic reputation in Ireland as a high-quality brand with a combination of industry-leading efficiency, reliability and technical excellence. We will be working closely with GT Phelan over the coming months and years to build on this and realise the potential.”

The company is targeting growth in Ireland across its range of class-leading split systems, high performance VRF air conditioning and air-to-air and air-to-water heat pumps.

David Dunn, General Manager of Toshiba Air Conditioning, said: “Ireland is important to us, and we are investing significantly to develop our presence and to support our growing customer base. This means increasing our support for the distributor channel as well as developing a component of direct sales, as we have done successfully for many years in the UK.

“We are proud of the heritage and brand strength Toshiba has in Ireland as a result of the outstanding work by GT Phelan over many years. We look forward to building on our successful partnership, and working to maximise the opportunities presented for the benefit of all concerned.”

Heat pumps poised for lift off!

Richard Sherlock, Chairman, Heat Pump Association

Richard Sherlock, Chairman, Heat Pump Association

The HPA is now very often the first port of call for these bodies when seeking information on the sector, be it market size, technical data, energy performance criteria, etc. Current Chairman is Richard Sherlock, Field Sales Manager for the Air-conditioning and Heating Divisions, Mitsubishi Electric. Here Richard gives a brief resume of progress and developments over the years, and highlights some of the challenges facing the sector as it looks to the future.

Brands represented by the current membership include Danfoss, Hitachi, Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric,  Waterfurnace, Thermia, Panasonic, Toshiba, Alpha Innotec/Origen, Baxi Potterton Myson, Nibe, CTC Enertec, Joule/ Samsung and Stiebel Eltron.

Membership is growing at a rapid rate, perhaps not surprisingly as the market is poised for dramatic expansion. Latest HPA industry figures show heat pumps sales up over 50% from 2013 to 2014. Estimated sales figures for the first half of 2015 show that pattern continuing.

Heat pumps are an extremely efficient method of heating with primary energy efficiencies unrivalled by any other technology. The current level of  energy credits available on the SEAI energy credit list demonstrates this clearly and, with the recent addition of air to air heat pump credits, the opportunities for heat pumps is set to rise further.

Heat pumps should no longer be viewed as an emerging technology. They are now a very proven technology with volumes of evidence-based data collated from controlled monitoring now available from all the major manufacturers.

This includes both test room and living-environment settings. All demonstrate and confirm the energy reductions that accrue from installing heat pumps, and also the significant related running cost reductions.

The major impediment to development of the heat pump market has been the assumptions made in SEAI’s DEAP software and the penal factor applied to heat pumps for hot water production.

Surveys conducted by HPA have shown that, among HPA members, there is not a single heat pump which has these limitations, demonstrating that the current rules are outdated and in no way reflective of current heat pump products.

Discussions regarding some elements of the software in relation to heat pumps are at an advanced stage. SEAI recently invited comments on a set of proposals and, with this public consultation process now completed, the industry awaits the outcome of these deliberations. This is expected shortly.

Another very important issue is the imminent implementation of the section of the Erp Directive dealing with heat generators. Lot 10 of the Directive dealing with air conditioners with a cooling capacity of <12KW was implemented as far back as 2013. The next major change is the enactment of LOT 1 for heat generators, which includes heat pumps. This is scheduled to be take effect on 26 September next.

The Erp Directive (2009/125/EC: Eco Design) will change the heating sector and introduce new energy efficiency standards for heating technology. The Directive aims to improve the energy efficiency of products and systems and was put in place to help the EU achieve its 20-20-20 targets

Unified HPA approach                                                                                                                               Individually, HPA members have already taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance but a HPA sub-committee is currently devising a unified HPA approach to deal with the implications of ErP as it is rolled out over the coming months.

One of the goals of LOT 1 is for individuals to be able to compare technologies such as heat pumps and other heat generators on a single label so they can make an informed purchasing decision. This will not only help end-users, but also specifying consultants and heating installers.

LOT 1 is split into two basic capacity/output ranges – up to 70kW and those ranging from 70kW to 400kW. Installers will be required to fill out a “Fiche” document which will provide an energy efficiency figure for the heating system, encompassing generator, ancillaries, controls etc.

For heat pumps manufacturers one of the main market concerns is in relation to rating in the DEAP software. Industry should not confuse the requirements under ErP and EPBD … they are two different things. Essentially, having labels published for ErP has no impact in DEAP as the current methodology does not accommodate ErP labels or testing.

In fact, there is no requirement for Irish authorities to accommodate ErP in software derived from EPBD. Both Directives are independent and links between them are not defined, particularly for use in DEAP methodologies in member states.

While the foregoing points to some very obvious and serious challenges facing the development of the heat pump market in Ireland, the facts of the matter cannot be disputed. Despite some serious and unfair impediments, heat pump sales have still shown a 50% increase over the years 2013 to 2014. Once these impediments have been resolved and heat pumps given a level playing field in respect of comparisons with other heat generators, the market will continue to develop, but at an everaccelerating rate.

Heat Pumps — HPA’s Sherlock Argues Facts!

Richard Sherlock, Heat Pump Association (HPA) Director

Richard Sherlock, Heat Pump Association (HPA) Director

Previous comment — Once the heat pump wears out, my guess is that it will be replaced by a plug-in heater, let me suggest why. 

The HP market has grown in Ireland in response to DEAP and Part L 2011. At a BER of A3 or better, the space heat demand is so low that very little heat is required. The lifecycle cost of the HP cannot be justified in energy savings terms: the savings in energy or emissions do not justify the installation when compared with other heat sources

Reply — The heat pump market has grown for many reasons, not least the requirement for heat in buildings combined with the need for a reduction in the use of fuels such as kerosene for home heating. With over 1.5 million residential homes in Ireland, there is significant need for heat pumps in Ireland in the retrofit market.

In the new build market there will always be a heat load due to fabric losses … passive for all houses is not likely to happen in the near future (if ever). Also, ventilation losses need to be accounted for as these too have a running cost attached.

DEAP is a stylized version of a building, which takes average occupancy and makes many assumptions. It is fair to say it is hardly a living laboratory and should not be seen as such. While not intending to be critical of the Irish DEAP, the DEAP figures do not always reflect reality and should not be treated as an absolute.

For example, a C-rated house could be turned into an A-rated house purely by adding excessive PV panels though this would not be much good to the end-user who is buying oil for heating!! So not all A-rated houses are equal on running cost. DEAP does not account for running cost.

However, it does work on the basis of primary energy. It is primary energy use that we are trying to reduce overall and it must be reduced in the living real world now, and not at some future date. We must deal with today’s housing stock and building standards, and these are some of the valid reasons to install a heat pump today. A heat pump is the only heat source that is primary energy positive.

In fact, I am delighted to see heat loads reducing as this will reduce the capacity of heat pumps and thus the cost of the systems installed. All credit to the policy makers, engineers and architects for making these lower heat loads a reality for heating suppliers.

Previous comment — Compare a HP for a semi-detached house with a BER of A2 against a 2kW plug-in heater and a night rate immersion. The capital cost of each is (in order of magnitude terms) €200 for the heaters versus €10,000 for the HP. 

Reply — Comparison on a fair basis is everything in this debate. Each case must be looked at individually and not in a “broad brush” manner with indicative high prices of €10,000.

Let’s compare a HP for a semi-detached house with a BER of A2 against a 2kW plug-in heater and a night-rate immersion. The capital cost of each is (in order of magnitude terms) €200 for the heaters versus €10,000 for the HP, as per a previous contributor.

It is unclear where this cost comes from and, in the absence of some basic facts such as the size and heat load of the house being referred to, it would be hard for me to accurately cost.

However, I assume that the immersion referred to will be thermo siphon as the cost could not reflect the price of an energy efficient pump as required by European Energy Efficiency Legislation.  Perhaps this cost is not all-inclusive and the heat pump is not €10,000. In any case, with a primary energy factor for electricity in excess of 2.4 an immersion significantly increases the primary energy use and the suggestion of using the immersion rather than a heat pump runs contrary to energy conservation.

Previous comment — The only real justification for the HP is the requirement for compliance in DEAP for CO2 emissions, which is based mainly on the primary energy factor applied to mains electricity. This CPC requirement does not exist in a retrofit situation. 

Reply —  This is simply not true. Again it is worth reiterating that a heat pump is primary energy positive. In a retrofit situation huge primary energy gains can be made by using a heat pump as opposed to a boiler, and certainly against an immersion. It is fanciful to proceed with energy policy without trying to reduce the consumption of high carbon energy fuels such as kerosene.

Couple this with a primary energy factor of less than 90% for a boiler and the argument in retrofit situations for a heat pump is more than convincing. The same argument also holds true for the vast majority of new builds.

Heat pumps were offering real-value propositions long before the introduction of DEAP and trying to justify their only function as you have described is not credible and is unfounded.

Previous comment — In, say, 20 years time, when the HP needs to be replaced, the primary energy factor of mains electricity will be approaching 1.5, not 2.42 as it is now (or 2.7 as it was not so long ago). And if Ireland progresses to become a net exporter of renewable energy, the primary energy factor of mains electricity could actually go negative, particularly night-rate electricity. 

Reply — In relation to primary energy being negative I will not speculate on that which might happen, In any case the energy will be used in Europe and the primary energy reduction targets are ultimately part of European targets, If Ireland can overproduce this is great but we are not even nearly there yet.

I will base my figures on the current situation and start saving energy today.

Example: 350% efficient heat pump gives a primary energy efficiency as follows: 350/2.42 = 144.6%, Clearly better than any other heat source, especially an immersion. 20 Years is a long time and a heat source which is more than 100% primary energy efficient can play a major part in reducing energy use in Europe in this period.

Previous comment — How do you persuade that householder to pay the additional €9,800 in 2034, when the cost of the additional energy required over the subsequent 20 years for the plug-in heater will not exceed this figure, (i.e. the payback is negative)? Much better to add PV at that stage, than to replace the old HP with a new HP. Which begs the question of why not go for the PV now and avoid the HP altogether? 

Reply — Your figure of €9800 seems very high, although you’re anecdotal A2 Semi detached house does not give much away, perhaps it Is over 300m2 and has some special requirements. Payback in any case is certainly not negative, primary energy consumption and comfort must also be accounted for.

A few simple points should begin to answer to your question of why not start with PV now?

Firstly, PV is costly and of course in Winter — when the most heat Is needed — the PV is at its lowest production, causing further problems with peaking on the electrical grid. Couple this with an immersion that will place additional load on the grid than a heat pump of equal size and I think the argument is self-substantiating.

Secondly, a heat pump installed today (*taking my earlier example) gives a primary energy efficiency of 144%. Catapult forward in time to date yet to be confirmed where Ireland has a primary energy factor of 1.5, as you suggested, and the same heat pump has the following primary energy efficiency: 3.5 / 1.5 = 233%  YES!!!!! every year the heat pump saves more and more energy and reduces primary energy use further.

The inverse is true for PV as It’s net gain is less and less each year in primary energy terms, if we take it that the primary energy factor for electricity continues to get better.

Together, these two points should be reason enough to not start with PV today. I would suggest starting with a heat pump.

Previous comment — The HP blip is welcome, but is only a bridging solution. Some even see problems with the peak load it adds to the grid. 

Reply — The heat pump “blip” you refer to started over 50 years ago and has much more than 20 years left. A blip of this length is a little more than transient in terms of heating systems.

Your argument presents some conflict — if heat pumps cause problems on the grid, your suggestion of replacing them with immersions will make the problem much worse, In fact, I would suggest installing heat pumps to solve the peaking problems your immersions would cause in such a scenario.

Previous comment — It is to be hoped that DEAP will be refined several times between now and 2034, each of which will reflect more accurately the lifetime CO2 emissions of various heating systems, including their embodied CO2. Any move in that direction is likely to penalise imported, complex machinery with ongoing maintenance needs over simple resistance wires inside protective enclosures. The need to spread the load on the grid may also be tackled in DEAP with rewards for night-time only space heat and HW production via mains electricity.

Reply — DEAP, I assume, will be constantly reviewed but should not be the only measure used. If a heat pump is an imported high-maintenance machine with high embodied carbon, there is then little hope for boilers as they are in the main imported, require ongoing maintenance and, in terms of  life-cycle, use more energy and produce more carbon than a heat pump as they are primary energy negative. When making the argument for life-cycle costs the heat pump is stronger, not weaker.I welcome moves In this direction.

By your analogy of penalties for embodied carbon, life-cycle, CO2 emissions and high maintenance, I fear our biggest problem is the death of the motor car and not the heat pump!

Previous comment — By 2034, I suspect you could be putting 0.8 in the PE factor box, especially if you have a heating system supplied from a HWC/heat store heated by night-rate wind energy.

Reply — I am not convinced the wind will blow evenly at night and so we will not need to compensate peaking problems with fossil fuel burning power station. This is an argument perhaps best not debated here but it should be considered nonetheless.

However, it is worth mentioning that, in any case, the heat pump in any scenario will be more primary energy efficient than an immersion and thus a better option for energy efficiency. Many heat pumps are smart grid ready and can be directly linked to PV where required.

Further to this, they can be coupled to thermal stores and can help in smoothing power production through smart grid adaptability. This is another example of manufacturers being ahead of national infrastructure, and indeed European infrastructure.

It is best to deal with today’s problems in relation to the reduction of primary energy while working towards a sustainable future. Heat pumps do, and will continue to, play a major role in the reduction of primary energy use, and in the reduction of CO2 emissions at a national and European level.

While I would be delighted to enter 2034 with a housing stock of over 1.5m passive houses, even wind speed and predictable user behavior, I will for the moment take comfort in the fact that at least until then heat pumps will form a part of the future of heating in Ireland and Europe as a whole.