Developers / Specifiers

With lower emissions of both carbon and air pollutants at the point of use, heat pumps are the perfect solution for new build properties.

New Building Regulations come into effect (15 June 2022), which will see an uplift in minimum building performance standards to reduce carbon emissions. The changes include uplifts to Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) and Part F (Ventilation) for new and existing homes. These changes form part of the Government’s roadmap to the 2025 Future Homes Standard, which will deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

For new homes, the new regulations require a 31% reduction on emissions compared to current 2012 standards. This can be achieved by the installation of heat pumps, combined with a renewable energy source, such as solar energy.

The Government will soon begin consultations for the Future Homes Standard, before further updating the Building Regulations in 2025. The Government’s “Fabric Plus Technology” policy encourages the application of heat pumps, due to their practicality and cost-effectiveness, versus alternative technologies such as solar panels.

Research undertaken by Currie & Brown and Aecom for the Climate Change Committee found that heat pumps are expected to become cost-effective across new build homes by 2021. In addition, the installation of a heat pump could also deliver annual bill savings. The cost of installation is often lower in new build scenarios compared to the deployment of heat pumps in existing properties.

Furthermore, there is growing evidence to support the claim that heat pump installation and compatibility have a considerable positive effect on property value; Savills found that properties with heat pumps command a 59% premium, compared to regional averages.

Heat pumps are versatile

Heat pumps are incredibly versatile and are suitable for many different property types, whether it’s a high-rise building or a detached house.

The available energy medium and installation costs will determine the most appropriate heat pump for a particular application.

Air source heat pumps can be installed at ground level, on rooftops or even on balconies. Usually, an air source heat pump serves one property.

Ground source heat pumps are typically located inside the home but if space is limited, they may be installed in dedicated plant rooms. Ground source heat pumps can serve larger properties or multiple smaller properties. Systems which share a ground loop are available for closely located properties or for high rise flats.

Another consideration is the internal space required for a hot water cylinder. These ensure that the heat pump can create and store hot water ready for use.

Designing heat pump installations

Heat pumps typically work at a lower flow temperature than a traditional boiler – typically up to 55°C. This means that heat loss calculations to define the size of the radiators are of great importance to the design process. It is important to work with a qualified system designer to ensure that the radiators installed are correctly sized for each room, as the temperature will be a lot lower, which may mean that the radiators need to be larger than usual.

Like a traditional heat only boiler, heat pumps need a cylinder to provide hot water. Therefore, as early as the design stage it is important to consider where the cylinder can be installed in a property. While cylinders can be placed anywhere in the home, the distance between the cylinder and the heat pump will impact the amount of pipework needed. Therefore, this should be taken into consideration to minimise energy losses.  

Most heat pumps have a weather compensating control as standard. This will optimise the flow temperature depending on the outdoor temperature to optimise the heat pump efficiency, prolong the life of the heat pump, and minimise running costs.

Additional systems add-ons are also available, such as Solar PV and Battery storage.

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The Heat Pump Association (HPA) is the UK’s leading authority on the use and benefits of heat pump technology and includes many of the country’s leading manufacturers of heat pumps, components and associated equipment.

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