The Climate Action Plan 2019 sets an ambitious target of installing 600,000 heat pumps in domestic and non-domestic properties by 2030. It also has ambitions for the electrification of heating systems by way of decarbonisation of the electrical grid by 70% through wind and other renewable technologies.
A lot of work and research has led to the uptake of domestic heat pumps in Ireland and the increasing figures show that additional funding models have helped Initial trouble-shooting and technical capabilities have been resolved and more reliable systems are now available.
While the domestic market is stabilised, the non-domestic heat pump market is not as well served. Project reviews and queries in relation to the provision of heat pumps as replacements for large gas/oil fired boiler houses are leaving designers nervous.
Research and pathway projects are looking at heat pump technology to serve The non-domestic market, and to meet the demands of thermal comfort in larger buildings. Air-to-water heat pumps are currently the favoured technology in some new and retrofit projects, although questions raised can be considered for all heat pump technologies.
Many perceive lighting mainly as a driver for energy efficiency and this indeed remains one of the core values for the lighting industry. The now mostly-accomplished transition to LED technology has led to up to 90% savings for European a comprehensive light management year as of 2030 (Lot 37 Ecodesign Lighting Systems <http://ecodesignlightingsystems.
However, the benefits from lighting for the health, well-being, productivity and safety of people are rarely seen as added value. At best, they come for free as part of the energy savings. These benefits received more attention in 2017, when three biologists were awarded the Nobel Prize for helping to explain how the human circadian rhythm works, including how light affects our daily biological cycle.
With the EU Renovation Wave initiative, the discussion must move beyond energy savings to also address healthier buildings, peoples’ quality of life and a lower level of inconvenience. We spend 90% of our time indoors and the quality of our indoor environment has a direct and indirect impact on our health, well-being, and productivity.
Since its formation the HPA has taken a pro-active approach to promoting heat pump technology for use in Ireland. Contact with SEAI has been constant and has resulted in items such as the fuel cost comparison sheets including heat pumps for the first time, clearly demonstrating the savings that are possible by using a heat pump as opposed to other fuel sources. It is evident from the comparison that saving over oil and LPG are the most attractive when looking at paybacks, and the percentage savings are “quite staggering”, according to a HPA spokesperson.
Another area which is being investigated is a revamp of the training provided to heat pump installers as a basic level of education. The HPA wants a minimum standard of training to be implemented to ensure correct installation and operation of heat pump equipment in the market.
Both the HPA and the SEAI are in regular discussions on this topic and there is an ambition on both sides to get a positive result as soon as possible.
In another development HPA says that heat pumps will shortly be added to the energy credits list for the first time. “The level of credits that heat pumps will receive is testament to the energy savings that a heat pump will give once installed in a building”, said a spokesperson.
“Real energy savings are evident and this is only possible because heat pumps give primary energy efficiencies in excess of 100%, making them a truly sustainable heating device for today and the future”, he concluded.
With more and more electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, it is obvious that heat pumps have a major role to play in the heating of Irish buildings into the future. The HPA will endeavour to help build a sustainable market for heat pumps, and get the message out that saving money and energy is possible when a heat pump is used.