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Last edited 27 Oct 2021
Hybrid heat pump electric panel heating new developments
Highly efficient hybrid electric solutions combine hot water heat pumps and direct electric panel heating to reduce the carbon footprint of new build residential developments
As specifiers face tightening regulations and accelerating plans to decarbonise heating and domestic hot water in new housing stock, hybrid solutions that combine low carbon hot water heat pumps and highly efficient electric panel heaters offer an interesting new alternative to traditional gas boilers.
Hybrid solutions are generally understood to be systems that include a gas boiler and a heat pump. But this description can also include many other combinations of technologies. In this blog, we will specifically look at combinations that utilise domestic hot water heat pumps in small dwellings and small and medium residential developments. These highly energy efficient air source heat pumps are currently available on the market and help deliver low carbon domestic hot water for residential developments. The Edel Hot Water Heat Pump, for example, has a coefficient of performance (COP) of 3.36. This means it can supply 3.36kWh for every kWh of energy it uses.
As building envelopes are increasingly thermally efficient, domestic hot water has become the dominant energy load. Addressing the highest energy demand service renewably, through the specification of the Edel Hot Water Heat Pump, has a significant impact on meeting carbon emission targets. The technology can be paired with a wide range of space heating solutions to suit the project specifics and design requirements.
Hybrid solutions that include hot water heat pumps with gas boilers are increasingly specified to help reduce carbon emissions of new developments. But how does this type of specification bode for the future? And can we still rely on gas boilers?
Will the new SAP 10.1 change energy calculations? And how will this accelerate the electrification of heating in residential developments?
To achieve the net zero carbon targets as outlined by the government, we will need to move away from fossil fuels and accelerate the electrification of heating. The Future Homes Standard consultation confirms that the UK government intends to ban gas connections in new developments from 2025.
The good news is that as the National Grid decarbonises, electricity is starting to shed its reputation as the ‘dirty fuel’. The updated version of SAP 10.1, when released, will introduce a new carbon emissions factor for fuel sources. This will see the carbon emissions factor of electricity more than halved, whilst the changes to oil and gas are negligible.
As the electricity generation in the UK continues to decarbonise, the expectation is that fully electric hybrid systems, such as the Edel Hot Water Heat pump and direct acting panel heaters, could present a decreasing carbon footprint for a building. The primary energy factor is a more complex area with more variables at play but is expected to follow a similar trajectory.
We already discussed that the carbon emission reduction achievable with the Edel Hot Water Heat Pump means that a variety of space heating technologies can be specified. Direct acting panel heaters are the most popular heating emitter specification choice for the Edel Hot Water Heat Pump. The technology has moved away from the old fashioned, inefficient units with inaccurate thermostats and a lack of controls from the past. The wide selection of modern designs are popular with architects, designers, and end users alike, and consumer friendly control units with intuitive displays add to the end user appeal.
The principal draw is the 100% energy efficiency at the source that modern panel heaters can achieve. Additional energy saving features such as the Adaptive Start or Open Window Detection are attractive to end users. These intelligent features help to reduce the amount of energy that panel heaters use when their operation is unnecessary. This energy would be otherwise wasted.
Even more can be done in terms of energy efficiency and improving the flexibility of the electrical grid. One way of achieving this is by specifying high heat retention storage heaters that can be utilised as energy storage.
After considering the energy efficiency of both the air to hot water heat pumps and direct acting panel heaters, we will now look at the practical and commercial implications of specifying hybrid heat pump solutions.
How does the specification of the Edel Hot Water Heat Pump combined with electric panel heaters overcome the challenges modern developments face?
Combining hot water heat pumps with gas boilers has some merit if carbon emission reductions are sought in the short term, however, the application of a hybrid approach in this manner is not without additional capital cost and complexity. Is possible to specify reliable hybrid heat pump solutions today that could replace gas technology altogether?
- Eliminating the cost of introducing gas connections to developments
- Lower capital cost of the solution
- Cost of pipework, controls and servicing is significantly reduced
- Radio-frequency enabled technology for remote control by end users and building owners
- Usable footprint can be increased
- Installation is considerably simpler, and a gas engineer is not required
- Lower maintenance cost
- Improved aesthetic with greater design flexibility
- Highly energy efficient with the potential to reduce energy bills for end users
The construction industry will need a host of technologies to achieve the incremental net zero carbon targets as we approach 2050. Hybrid heat pump solutions are one of these options and have been a popular choice with European specifiers for some time now as fossil fuels are replaced with a broad range of sustainable, decarbonising solutions that give building specifiers choice in the way that they design their projects.
The specification of the Edel Hot Water Heat Pump with panel heaters is not new in the UK. The solution is proven in the UK and is recognised in SAP Appendix Q. The Edel Hot Water Heat Pump with panel heaters has helped to achieve compliance in projects and developments with various limitations that needed to be resolved, such as space availability or regional compliance.
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