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Time for Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

Time for a Switch to Air Source Heat Pumps

Heating and hot water account for around one-third of the UK’s carbon emissions, so it is not surprising that it continues to receive a considerable amount of scrutiny, especially from those in power.

In 2016, the UK along with the world’s other leading economies signed the Paris Climate Accord, committing to keep global warming under 2°C. As a result, and in order to meet the target, a series of objectives have been set, a crucial one being a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050, as advised by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

The government is taking decarbonisation seriously and the switch to air source heat pumps  (ASHP) seems to be something they are eager to encourage, for both commercial and multiple occupancy residential properties.

Commercial heating – A Renewable Re-invention

In 2016, a study revealed the fact that 14% of carbon emissions can be attributed to industrial processes. This is in addition to the heating and hot water demands being met by the burning of fossil fuels.

With air source heat pumps offering very high efficiencies under the right conditions, retrofitting commercial properties will make a considerable dent in current emissions, helping that all-important carbon-neutral goal to be achieved on schedule.

Yet convincing commercial organisations to adopt something new is not always the easiest job. With upgrades comes a cost, but something so fundamental as hot water and heating offers a business case for it to gain sufficient support.

Additionally, there are many practical benefits to switching to high-efficiency heat pumps, reducing energy consumption means less CO₂ production and lower operational costs, and don’t forget your company gets all the kudos it deserves for going green.

With that said, here is a summary of all the potential advantages of your company adopting heat pumps:

#1 Reduce CO Output, Earn Green Kudos

Quitting your company’s sole reliance on a gas-based system can drastically cut your CO₂ emissions. Heat pumps produce heat without emitting any CO₂, and the small amount of energy required by a unit from the electric grid is increasingly becoming decarbonised. So, advertising the fact that your company working towards attaining net-zero is a brilliant way to show you are playing your part.

Many people do care intensely about the green agenda, so many people like to see the companies they use showing their support and decarbonising their operations, so advertising the fact that you have gone green is sure to impress.

#2 Reduce Operational Energy Costs

For many organisations, the energy bill can be a contentious issue. There is a struggle between keeping energy costs down, while at the same time, maintaining a working environment where staff and visitors feel warm and comfortable.

Under the right conditions, heat pumps offer an extremely efficient alternative for heating or providing hot water to a building. Heat pumps have a negligible demand for electricity and instead of burning carbon-rich fossil fuels to produce heat, using the principle of vapour compression, a heat pump utilises the heat that already exists in the environment. Escaping the reliance on fossil fuels means you are no longer at the mercy of unplanned for cost increases, allowing those resources to be directed to a more rewarding part of your business.

#3 Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund

For public sector organisations, the Governments new Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund is a £1b fund being made available now for the upgrade of public buildings and social housing to make them more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. As with all current Government decarbonisation initiatives, ASHPs are perceived to have a key role in attaining change that is rapidly required from both new build projects and more critically ageing building stock. The latter especially throw up a range of physical and technical challenges when it comes to adapting or upgrading to new, more efficient systems. Therefore, it is critical to speak to experts, such as Adveco, early on when it comes to scoping out a project and agreeing an application design which delivers on the criteria established under the Decarbonisation Fund.

#4 Adaptability

Heat pumps offer maximum versatility, being able to be installed into a variety of building types and sizes. For larger-scale commercial applications, the annual fluctuation in efficiency due to shifts in ambient temperature, and the peak and high-temperature demands of commercial domestic hot water (DHW) systems means hybrid approaches that combine ASHP with secondary heat sources (gas or electric) are most likely to be required. Despite the potential complexity, the versatility of the ASHP enables it to be integrated in a variety of ways that meet the typically bespoke requirements of such projects.

Whether you have a large single building, or several smaller buildings, a school or medical centre with a substantial heating or hot water needs, heat pumps can help meet the unique demands of the site.

#5 Minimal Upkeep 

Air source heat pumps which have been correctly specified to the regional climate will provide consistent operation absorbing heat from the air throughout the year. For the UK, Adveco will size units based on the Ecodesign Average European Temperature Scale, which sets a minimum reference design temperature of -10°C. This allows for the realistic calculations of Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP). That said, units will still efficiently operate down to -20°C, and many southern and western regions of the UK exhibit much warmer climate.

Despite continually operating at often sub-zero temperatures during the colder months, heat pumps require very little maintenance and, of course, there is no risk of carbon monoxide, CO₂ or NOₓ from the appliance. Smart, remote monitoring ensures any potential issues are quickly flagged and attended to, and if serviced regularly, a heat pump can easily last as long as 20 years

Time to Consider Changing to Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)

Heat pumps are repeatedly cited in government documentation, so their adoption will no doubt be incentivised. Making the switch to ASHPs offers a variety of benefits for commercial enterprises and public sector organisations, meeting the obligations for sustainable investment and ‘greening the brand’, but it also helps your organisation to maximise its operational budget.

The commercial and public sectors are going to be a key part of the UK achieving its carbon-neutral goal by 2050. There has never been a better time to adopt the technology and reap the rewards of renewability.


Adveco: Time for a Switch to Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).To request a meeting with Adveco to discuss your project call us on 01252 551 540 or use the form here.

This blog was co-authored with boilerbrain.

Making ASHP Work For Commercial Applications – Part 2.

Making ASHP Work For Commercial Applications – Part 2

The Hybrid Approach

In part one, we considered the challenges and limitations of an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) only system, with particular focus on the problems commercial organisations faced when retrofitting existing properties with new heating and hot water applications. In this concluding part, we look at the advantages of adopting a hybrid system approach based on ASHP technology…

A hybrid approach where an ASHP is deployed in a packaged combination with a gas boiler and control system presents an attractive alternative, retaining the element of gas boiler technology that customers are comfortable with. Plus, it also offers better compatibility with existing heating distribution systems and thermal demands of higher heat loss buildings meaning less adaptation is required. There are also technical advantages, such as the ability to optimise heat pump efficiency and switching to the gas boiler at times of network peak.

The facility of two heat sources to meet the demands for space heating and/or hot water is especially relevant for the commercial sector where bespoke system design is often required to meet the particular needs of a project, such as applications with a high heat loss. In this case, the gas boiler can be operated to meet peak demands on the coldest days, allowing the heat pump to be reduced in size compared to the capacity of a pure electric heat pump system.

Installing a heat pump alongside an existing gas boiler, together with a control system also makes sense in retrofit installations, especially, in applications where a relatively new boiler has been installed, which should be highly efficient, and which can be retained for peak heating loads. The key challenge technically is to ensure that the control system for the ASHP and existing boiler operate together efficiently.

In such cases, given that the ASHP does not replace an existing heating system, the driver for installing the system is largely to reduce running costs and make quick gains towards improving environmental performance.

Hybrid systems based around an ASHP are likely to require some system refurbishment in many retrofit installations in order to ensure that a substantial proportion of the annual demand is met by the heat pump (though this is likely to be lower than a pure electric system). Even so, when including the cost of a gas boiler replacement, the cost of refurbishing heating systems for the installation of a hybrid system should be lower than in the case of a single heat pump system. This is due to the reduced heat pump capacity requirement since the boiler can provide higher flow temperatures to meet peak heat demands. When comparing the cost of a heating system refurbishment opting to install a hybrid system versus a ‘pure’ ASHP system a reduction in comparative costs of as much as 50% could be achieved (Source: Frontier Economics).

Once installed, levels of carbon savings are generally slightly higher when allowing for hybrid solutions – suggesting that up until 2030 hybrid solutions could be consistent with meeting carbon targets. Although the average cost-effectiveness of carbon abatement is somewhat lower than in the scenarios which exclude hybrids. These savings are estimated based on comparison with a standalone ASHP, assuming that a hybrid system will use a smaller heat pump with a capacity reduced by as much as one third. For a hybrid ASHP system, expectations will be for the heat pump to meet as much as 75% of the annual heat load, the remainder being met by a gas boiler. This delivers similar operating costs and comparable CO and CO₂ savings at current grid carbon intensity (the reduced heat pump coverage of the overall thermal demand can be compensated by the ability to run the heat pump at closer to optimum efficiency).

Whilst the long-term use of hybrid systems may be perceived as not fully consistent with meeting carbon targets and they can equally be limited by space requirements and noise issues that also affect standalone ASHP installation, there remains a strong argument for their use across the commercial sector.

In the long term, hybrid systems should fall behind pure electric systems in terms of carbon benefits as the grid decarbonises and may become less cost-effective if volumes of gas supplied for the heating drop. But looking out to 2050, innovations in the provision of hydrogen and green gas, using extant infrastructure which currently supports 85% of UK heating, means hybrid systems may prove to be a defining low carbon option. One that provides the means to support the very particular, practical needs of the commercial market with versatile, cost-effective systems, all without sacrificing the drive to lower emissions as part of the process of achieving net-zero.


Adveco.Read about Adveco’s compact commercial FPi ASHP range and prefabricated packaged systems for a hybrid approach.

For further information contact Adveco.