Heat Pumps can help businesses lower their carbon footprint and reduce their impact on the environment. As the UK is on the path to decarbonisation, heat pumps can make the transition process faster and easier. There are several types of heat pumps, namely air, ground, water, and waste-source, so businesses can find one that matches their financial and environmental needs and goals.
What types of heat pumps are there?
Heat pumps are capable of providing heating from 40°C up to 165°C and they do not emit any direct emissions, which means that by using one your business can significantly reduce its overall Green House Gas emissions. By using a heat pump, you no longer have to rely on fossil fuels.
Heat pumps are cost-effective and affordable, which makes them a great solution for businesses that want to get closer to achieving net zero. Depending on the needs of your business, you can choose from one of the following types of heat pumps:
- Air-source heat pump
This type of heat pump can supply hot water to any site in almost all conditions. Air-source heat pumps are not intrusive and are very cost-effective. They are typically fitted to the side of the building or on the roof and they work by drawing air from outside and using compression to transfer heat. Air-source heat pumps are capable of recovering waste heat from chillers or waste water, which makes them very efficient.
- Ground-source heat pump
Ground-source heat pumps use thermal boreholes as a heat source, which means that they can operate all year round and offer stable temperature. They can also use the heat recovery loop to store heat in the ground during warmer months where less heat is needed.
- Water-source heat pumps
Water-source heat pumps use a similar system to ground-source pumps. They extract heat from bodies of water and use submerged pipes with a working fluid that absorbs the heat to convert the extracted heat into useful heat. Water-source heat pumps are particularly efficient when using open bodies of water, flowing bodies of water, or underground water sources.
How to choose the right heat pump?
Choosing the right heat pump for your business can be challenging as there are numerous factors you need to consider. Here, you can find the key information about advantages of each type of heat pump and considerations that you need to think about when getting it.
|type of heat pump||advantages||things to consider|
|Air-source heat pump||Most cost-effective option|
Eligible for government grants
Simple installation process
Can use waste heat, which increases efficiency
Possible to integrate heat storage to load shift
|Efficiency is dependent on ambient conditions|
Thermal energy management is reduced
If the system is not efficient enough, business case can be affected
Offers low lifetime carbon savings
|Ground-source heat pump||Increased seasonal performance|
Possibility for thermal balancing thanks to ground loop system
Improved cash flow
Eligible for green stimulus grants
|Drilling boreholes can disrupt business activities|
A lot of space required for retrofit projects
Retrofitting on an existing site is more difficult than air-source pumps
|Water-source heat pump||Seasonal performance improved and can be even better than ground-source pumps|
More carbon emissions reductions
Less land required than with ground-source pumps
Possibility for free cooling thanks to using the water source
|No one size fits all solution available|
Thermal energy management might not be possible
Obtaining abstraction licence can be a lengthy and complicated process
Thanks to this overview the process of making the decision will be much easier.
What benefits do heat pumps bring for businesses?
Installing a heat pump comes with a number of benefits for your business. The main ones are:
- You can replace natural gas with a more sustainable heat generation
- You can simplify your Scope 1 and Scope 2 reporting
- You can implement an effective heating source while saving money
- You can get average savings reaching between 40-50% for ground-source and air-source pumps
- You might be able to get heat pumps with renewable technologies that can help you become carbon neutral or enhance heat generation
- You are able to switch to a more reliable heating system that does not require frequent and time consuming maintenance
- You can minimise planning risks
- You can reduce project costs
- You might be able to access government grants for your heat pump
- You will be generating ZERO direct emissions.`
You might be wondering if heat pumps have any disadvantages. The main downside to getting a heat pump is that it requires a high upfront investment. Purchasing and installing a heat pump can be expensive although the exact total cost varies depending on the type of the heat pump, the season, and the layout of your business premises.
Still, what is great about heat pumps is the fact that they require very little maintenance. You should check the system once a year to make sure everything is working well but you can usually do it yourself. There is no need to pay a professional to complete a check. The low amount of maintenance required by a heat pump means that, after the initial investment, you do not have to keep spending more money on the system.
If you are still unsure whether you should opt for a heat pump, you should know that the benefits of installing and using a heat pump outweigh the disadvantages. Not only will your business be more eco-friendly, which can attract new customers who care about the environment but you can also expect the cost payback within a few months from the installation.
What funding is available for businesses getting heat pumps
Decarbonising heat can be an expensive process but, in 2020, to help businesses install sustainability and carbon reduction solutions, the UK government launched the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF). Funding is being delivered by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It pledged up to £315M in funding divided into two phases:
- Spring 2021 phase where £40m became split equally between two strands
- Future phases where the remaining £245m is being offered to industrial businesses and can be spent on complex decarbonisation projects.
The two strands of funding in the first phase were:
- Strand 1 – Energy efficiency technologies – to qualify for money under this category, businesses had to intend to spend funds on technologies that improve the energy efficiency of their industrial processes. They had to be able to prove the effectiveness of these technologies through testing and had to demonstrate that the project they want to implement can only be done through this funding.
- Strand 2 – Industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation studies – under this category, businesses that wanted to get funding had to plan to focus on building future deployment project pipelines through financing feasibility and engineering studies. They also had to show their commitment to reducing the costs and risks of energy efficiency or decarbonisation technologies.
Businesses that wanted to get the funding had to show a portfolio of projects. Moreover, this funding was aimed at specific types that represent energy incentive sectors. There were two rounds of Phase 1, one of them ran from July to October 2020 and the other from March to July 2021.
The government is currently assessing the Phase 2 applications Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022. As the government explains, ‘phase 2 expands the IETF scope to additionally support the deployment of decarbonisation technologies. It will provide around £220 million in funding between Autumn 2021 and 2025.’
Why should you get the heat pump now
As the Industrial Emissions Transmission Fund (IETF) is still available, now is the best moment to get your heat pump and possibly receive financial assistance to do so.
Heap pumps are a great opportunity to quickly decarbonise the grid and effectively address climate change pressure that the UK is under. Using heat pumps is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways for your business to cut your emissions and increase sustainability. And, as more and more businesses join the fight against climate change, you should do so as well.
If you want to do your bit for the Planet but you do not know where to start, installing a heat pump is a great first step.
During the process of burning fossil fuels, large quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. This is where the main problem with fossil fuels appears. They not only harm the environment and our health but they also contribute to global warming. By getting a heat pump, you can start moving away from fossil fuels.
The UK is on the right path towards abandoning fossil fuels but a lot of progress still needs to be done. In recent decades, the amount of coal used in UK power stations decreased significantly, which is an important milestone as coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and the biggest driver of increasing global temperatures. Now, the UK is approaching zero. If you want to help the country achieve its climate goals, get a heat pump.
What is renewable energy?
Using renewable energy is a great way for businesses of all sizes to cut their carbon emissions and achieve various environment-related goals. We talk a lot about renewable energy and you probably hear this term all the time, but what actually is renewable energy. Understanding the concept is crucial to implementing steps that will make your business more sustainable.
Renewable energy refers to energy derived from natural sources that are replenished at a rate faster than the rate at which they are being used. Traditionally, people have been burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas to generate energy but these are not replenished quickly enough so there is a risk of them being used up in the next few decades.
Another significant problem with fossil fuels is the fact that they damage the environment and our health. It is because during the process of burning fossil fuels, a lot of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released. They then trap heat in the atmosphere, thus fueling climate change and global warming. These harmful gases and chemicals are also detrimental to human health.
Renewable energy, on the other hand, generates energy from natural resources such as wind, solar, or tidal energy. Thanks to that, it has a much lower impact on the environment and does not affect our health. Wind and solar power produce no greenhouse gases, which makes them a great choice for businesses who want to achieve zero carbon.
Renewable energy also uses green gases such as biogas that can be obtained from organic waste. Biogas emits harmful gases when burned but is still cleaner than fossil fuels so it is a good alternative.
As a business, you can shape your energy approach according to your individual needs and goals. Turning to renewable energy generation, however, should be your first step. Nowadays, more and more energy suppliers offer green tariffs where energy comes from renewable sources. You can also opt for offsetting your consumption. If you get in touch with us, we can help you find the most effective solutions that will help you transition to renewables or simply be greener.
What to consider when financing low carbon projects
Many businesses decide to invest in energy efficiency projects to make their premises more energy efficient and to save money on the supply. Making such investments is a great way to be more sustainable but there are certain things you need to think about when financing them.
- Align your financial goals with energy efficiency ambitions
Having a low carbon footprint can help you expand your customer base and enhance your branding. This is why sustainability should be your priority and you should make sure that your financial goals align with your plans regarding being more energy efficient.
Historically, companies have been focused primarily on growth and energy spend, now, in decision-making, there is more emphasis on environmental responsibility.
Many environmentally-friendly technologies and low carbon projects require significant upfront investments but they offer cost payback after a few months. And, the cost of many such innovations, for example solar power panels, has been decreasing in recent years. So, now is a good time to invest in them.
- Plan long-term
Many businesses make the mistake of only thinking about immediate benefits of various environmental projects. When you come up with your decarbonisation strategy, you have to make sure that it will be successful long-term.
Achieving net zero can be a lengthy process and is a long-term commitment that usually involves implementing numerous projects. Hence, it is important that your strategy will scale rather than stay the same over the years.
- Explore various financing options
Smart energy technologies can help you achieve your environmental goals but they can be expensive. This is why, before you decide to purchase one, or before you decide that it is too much for your budget, you need to explore various financing options. There are grants that you might apply for, you can also resort to crowdfunding, or consider a loan for small businesses.
Businesses looking to launch capital projects might also be eligible for a Super Deduction designed to help them reduce their corporations tax expenditure from 1 April 2021 until the end of March 2023. Under this scheme companies can claim 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments.
Additional government schemes introduced to help businesses be more sustainable include:
- Industrial Energy Transformation Fund – helping companies install energy and carbon reduction measures, for example, heat pumps
- Energy Fund of the total of £1 billion – for organisations operating in the public sector, as well as businesses that want to lower their carbon emission footprint
- Heat Networks Investment Projects – intended for companies that need sustainably generated and utilised heat
- Salix Energy Efficiency Fund – helping improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the public sector.
Comparing financial options can be complex but we can help you navigate through the process. We will analyse your business’s individual circumstances and sustainability goals and tell you in detail which financing strategy will be the best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are heat pumps renewable energy?
The short answer to this question is: yes. Heat pumps are renewable, ‘green energy’ solutions that represent an alternative to boilers. Heat pumps can help businesses reduce their impact on the environment, while at the same time allowing them to pay less for energy bills. By installing heat pumps, individual businesses and the UK as a whole can get closer to zero carbon emissions targets.
How do heat pumps work?
Heat pumps are very efficient. They use a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to a different location. Source heat pumps operate by pulling heat out of the air or ground to heat space on the business premises. Heat pumps do not burn fuel, which means they do not pollute the environment like fossil fuels do. Heat pumps simply take heat from one place to heat another place.
What types of heat pumps are there?
If you are considering installing a heat pump, you can choose one from the following types of heat pumps:
- Air-source heat pumps
- Ground-source heat pump
- Water-source heat pumps.
Which type you should get depends on your business premises and your energy needs and goals. Get in touch with us and we can analyse your situation and help you determine which type of heat pumps you should install.
Are heat pumps efficient?
Heat pumps are highly efficient and they can transfer between three to four times more energy (in the form of heat) into a property than they use to extract it. Heat pumps provide heating and hot water from the energy stored in the ground, water, or air, without burning anything and releasing harmful chemicals. Heat pumps can help you not only heat your property but also reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your energy bills.
What are the benefits of air source heat pumps?
Air-source heat pumps are suitable for a wide range of properties. They extract heat energy from the air and use it to provide heating and hot water. The main benefits of air-source heat pumps are:
- They are an environmentally-friendly heat source
- They are highly efficient as they generate more energy than they use
- They are eligible for the government Boiler Upgrade Scheme (allowing people to get an upfront grant of £5000 to help reduce the cost of installation)
- They require little outdoor space.
Because of their small size requirements, air-source heat pumps can be installed in all kinds of properties, both small and large ones.
By installing an air-source heat pump, you are helping the government achieve the plan for a green revolution designed to help the UK move away from fossil fuels. The strategy plans to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.