Why Install Heat Pumps Into New Build Properties
Heat pumps offer a “green” and economical way to provide space and water heating for a home. The use of heat pumps is not common place in the UK at present, however in some European countries, such as Germany & Scandinavia, the uptake has been much higher. In an article written by Tina Fawcett of the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute about the future role of heat pumps in the domestic sector, it was stated that in 2006, 75% of all new single-family dwellings in Switzerland were fitted with heat pumps.
Heat pumps are particularly well suited to new build properties because they ideally require a low temperature heat distribution system (emitters) as well as a well-insulated property with low ventilation losses and lower heat loads. Retrofit to older dwellings is possible but costs are likely to be higher because of potential additional costs such as a higher level of insulation and change of emitters required.
In addition, in-screed underfloor heating is more efficient than overlay and it offers greater thermal conductivity. Another benefit of underfloor heating is that it doesn’t impact on space in the property. In fact, it can make the space more practical because without radiators every wall is usable.
POSTnote 426 published by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in January 2013 says that building regulations in England specify a minimum energy performance standard for new buildings in terms of carbon emissions. By 2016 it’s expected that new homes will need to be ‘zero carbon’, which is going to require increased insulation and low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps and current building regulations are pushing this
New can be more environmentally friendly than other developments because the government requires new homes to be assessed against the Code for Sustainable Homes. The aim of this code is to lower carbon emissions and encourage sustainable building design above and beyond what is required by building regulations. One of the nine measures of sustainable design is energy/CO2. New build homes are voluntarily assessed using a one to six star system. The level three energy standard is now incorporated within building regulations. Find out more about the Code for Sustainable Homes on Gov.uk or call Reina Group who have in-house experienced CfSH assessors.
In addition to ensuring maximum insulation and fitting heat pumps there are other ways that a developer can make a home more energy efficient. For example, designing the property so that it makes the most of natural sunlight will reduce the need to have lights on during the daytime and also reduce the need for heating.
As this article in The Ecologist states “while there’s no disputing there are additional costs incurred when implementing sustainable technologies, these can be substituted in for other less environmentally friendly options that would have previously been specified, resulting in only a small increase in build cost overall.
“This is an investment that goes beyond profitability. It is an investment in our environment that will see benefits for years to come.”
Sustainable homes can also be more attractive to potential buyers who are looking to make the most of their money. Building homes that offer savings in energy bills can only incentivise buyers. The aforementioned article in The Ecologist states that “Code 5 properties can offer savings of over 85% on energy bills, ensuring sustainable credentials give homes a financial edge in today’s competitive housing market.”
The Reina Group designs and installs heat pump systems using heat pumps manufactured by leading brands. Find out more about heat pumps here.