New Industry Standards For Heat Pump Installers Launched

Published by Kate Anderson on September 26th, 2011

A new set of industry standards has been launched, designed to give customers more protection and raise the quality of installations.

Major players in the renewables industry were at Whitehall to see energy secretary Chris Huhne make the announcement. And Mr Huhne revealed that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has worked very closely with the heat pump industry to set in place the new standards. 

Referring to the Energy Saving Trust’s innovative heat pump field trial – and the uncertainty surrounding the technology’s performance – Chris Huhne highlighted a series of common fatal errors incurred by heat pump installers. Most notably the under-sizing of the systems, which results in decreased efficiency.

Green energy specialists, Stiebel Eltron welcomed the news. John Felgate, the firm’s technical director said the new set of industry standards was good news for both manufacturers and installers – and not least consumers looking to invest in the benefits of heat pump technology.

“Installers need a set of guidelines to ensure that heat pumps achieve the carbon savings they are supposed to, as well as ensuring that consumers feel secure and protected,” said Mr Felgate.

Adding that there has been too many horror stories concerning cowboy installations and badly performing systems, he added: “We have to now present a unified front and get the message out there that we are a well regulated, quality industry with excellent practices.”

While the new installer standards are now in place, they won’t become mandatory until December. It is imperative that the new standards are adhered to, because installers who don’t follow the guidelines risk losing their accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

Under the new set of guidelines, except in the most extreme of conditions, the installed heat pump should be able to heat a house almost entirely without needing any back up, electric or otherwise.

Boost For Heat Pump Planning Permission Issues

Published by Kate Anderson on September 21st, 2011

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has given heat pump technology a boost, indicating that planning permission issues pertaining to air source heat pumps should soon be lifted.

As it stands, anyone wanting to install an air source heat pump – as opposed to a ground source heat pump – requires planning permission for the system to be fitted. The planning ruling has been under revision for some time, but it looks as though air source heat pumps are on course to become permitted development sooner rather than later.

The planning permission issue was raised during Mr Huhne’s attendance at the Southampton Eco Event, which was hosted by Freedom Heat Pumps. When broached about the subject, the energy secretary said that although some restrictions – including consideration for noise – still needed to be addressed, the current restrictions were close to be lifted.

Allowing air source heat pumps to be exempt from the planning system would certainly be a boost for the industry. Mr Huhne also spoke very briefly about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), and touched on the reasons for the delay when it came to including air source heat pumps in the scheme.

“The data taken during the Carbon Trust study showed that there were still significant problems with the application of air source heat pumps and a further one year study of different installations will allow us to make a more informed decision,” he said, addressing attendees.

Mr Huhne added that a final decision and further announcements should be made in January or February next year.

The event at Freedom Heat Pumps showroom in Eastleigh gave members of the public the opportunity to mingle with renewable heating contractors and learn more about the technologies available.

Heat Pumps Important For Low Carbon Future

Published by Kate Anderson on September 12th, 2011

Energy secretary Chris Huhne is calling on the UK to not overlook the importance of heat pumps, as the technology continues to remain “off the radar” for many people.

A new set of updates to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme MIS3005 guidelines was launched last week, to which the energy secretary has put his weight behind.

The new guidelines have been put together to make sure heat pump installers select the right devices for customers and to help increase investor confidence in the technology. The Government will also be implementing a training and awareness  programme to aid installers.

It is anticipated that the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), together with new stricter guidelines could help the UK achieve its low carbon goals. Although the European Heat Pump Association believes the UK has the potential to become the number one market for new investment, currently we trail behind the likes of Sweden, France and Germany for heat pump installations.

“You only need to talk to the Chief Scientific Adviser for a few minutes before you realise how important heat pumps are,” said Mr Huhne.

“They can play a real part in our low carbon future, yet for most people in the UK they’re entirely off the radar,” he added.

According to the Energy Savings Trust, to date some 1,463 vouchers were issues during the first month of the scheme, with air source heat pumps proving the most popular, having achieved 511 vouchers. Ground source heat pumps had accounted for 283 vouchers.

Also in the pipeline, air source heat pumps could soon benefit from permitted development rights. The Department for Communities and Local Government is working to make the technology exempt from the planning system.

Panasonic’s Aquarea Heat Pump Awarded MCS Accreditation

Published by Kate Anderson on September 1st, 2011

Panasonic’s Aquarea range of air source heat pumps has been awarded accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

Becoming an approved technology under the scheme has significant benefits, not least because it means anyone fitting the technology in their home will be eligible to take advantage of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Aquarea air-to-water heat pumps are known for their reliability, ease of installation and class-leading, energy efficient performance – up to 78% compared to electric heating.

Commenting on achieving MCS accreditation, Marc Diaz, UK country manager at Panasonic PHAAE, said it represented a significant milestone, given the Government incentives and plans to boost the country’s adoption of renewable technologies.

“It ensures that Aquarea will meet the required eligibility criteria demanded by any Government-backed programme, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive.

“With its impressive, energy efficient performance alongside the other benefits it offers, we are confident that it will prove a very popular choice,” added Mr Diaz.

MCS accreditation applies to Panasonic’s standard Aquarea Mono-bloc heat pump.