Air we go…
Air we go…

Air source heat pumps can reduce heating costs and provide a business opportunity for installers.

Air source heat pumps are a renewable technology that offers a practical and sustainable method of heating. Using basic thermodynamic principles, air source heat pumps convert latent heat contained within the air into heat energy, which can be used to provide heating and hot water.

For manufacturers such as Grant, the market is split into two distinct camps – the first being social housing contract work, which generally requires smaller output units, and the second being one off installations in off-gas areas, typically involving larger output models. Both sectors present an opportunity for heating and plumbing engineers looking to expand or diversify their business.

Looking at the social housing sector in more detail, the drivers for this are benefits like the ECO funding, less annual maintenance, lower carbon emissions and when correctly sized and installed, reduced fuel bills. More financial investment is generally needed in the building structure (for instance better insulation, double glazing, larger radiators or underfloor heating) to enable a renewable technology like this to be installed, but for Housing Associations much of this work is already being undertaken in order to bring the properties up to speed with current legislation and comply with the Carbon Reduction Programme that they are governed by.

In the private sector, projects like that by Colin Goodwood, a property developer in Grimsby, highlights why air source heat pumps are so efficient, especially when combined with other technologies. Passionate about employing eco-friendly technologies, Colin’s aim was to make his own self-built property as carbon neutral as possible.

His first decision was how to provide heating and hot water for his home. After much research, he chose the Aerona ASHE 21.5kW heat pump. While home heating in the UK makes up around 30% of CO2 emissions, an air source heat pump can be classified as a renewable energy source because the heat in the air is replenished by the sun. This means it not only lowers heating costs, but also helps to reduce the harmful greenhouse gases being released.

The resulting heat energy the pump produced was used to warm the property’s underfloor heating, the water supply and helped provide instant hot tap water. The heat pump’s output of 21.5kW has a coefficient of performance (CoP) of 3.9 and to achieve this output and reduce running costs the unit was designed with a larger evaporator surface area, increasing the volume of airflow through the unit.

The Aerona’s fans run at low speeds and this coupled with the improved insulation has significantly reduced noise levels. This was vital as the property is surrounded by other dwellings and the low noise levels ensured the unit did not impact on those close by. Although the performance of a heat pump is affected by the outside air temperature, the product has a weather compensating device which means the pump can accurately measure the indoor and outdoor air temperatures and adjust its operation, maximizing efficiency. It proved a good way to reduce the house’s carbon footprint.

Grant first entered the heat pump market in 2010 with the Aerona range of single phase air to water heat pumps with outputs up to 13kW, as it was felt that the Company needed to offer an ancillary renewable product that could be used alone or combined with fossil fuels to cater for properties needing to improve energy efficiency. Featuring weather compensation, dual temperature controls and a 3kW immersion backup, the idea behind the range was to combine tried and tested technology with sophisticated control equipment to give customers the benefit of efficient and reliable heating with every unit.

The latest Grant Aerona ASHE heat pumps are available in sizes ranging from 6.5kW-21.5kW and have a superior Coefficient of Performance (CoP) even when external temperatures drop as low as -20°C. The CoP is the ratio of electrical power required to run the heat pump, compared with the output being produced to heat the water of the heating system. The two larger units from the ASHE range can achieve heating outputs of 17.5kW and 21.5kW respectively, whilst still operating on a single-phase electricity supply (three-phase is more commonly used for outputs of this size).

By a combination of clever design features and improved insulation, the Aerona achieves low noise levels whilst operating. This provides a greater scope when specifying air source heat pumps, helping to comply with noise level requirements under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) MIS3005.

With so many developments in the renewables market, Grant knows the importance of offering comprehensive training and support with products for heating installers and end users. Furthermore, improving knowledge in the marketplace will ultimately encourage engagement and uptake of these technologies. To that end, Grant supports installers with an accredited Scheme called G-One, which offers complimentary extended product guarantees, as well as several free of charge product courses.

Air we go…