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The Swegon Blog - How heat pumps can save energy

22 September 2020

How heat pumps can save energy

The energy efficiency of heat pumps can be more than three times higher than for electrical heater, boiler or a furnace. In addition to that, it does not need fossil fuels to produce energy and no air pollution is generated. Learn more about why heat pumps should be your first choice.

To generate heat, we need to consume energy in the form of electricity by joule effect or burning natural gas, both of which often comes from fossil fuels. Generating heat in this way is usually not very efficient, and you typically get less energy out than you put in.

The smart thing about heat pumps

One of the biggest benefits of heat pumps is that they don’t emit carbon dioxides, unlike for instance boiler and furnaces. Heat pumps don’t generate heat – they move already existing heat from one place to another, where we can make better use for it. The heat can be taken from for example the air outside, or from a water source. The neat trick, which many find completely against all common sense, is that heat pumps can push heat from a colder source to a warmer target. This is possible thanks to compressors exploit physical properties and change of status of refrigerants, allowing us to extract heat, move it, and release it.

Heat pumps are getting even better and more flexible

This all means that the efficiency of a heat pump is more than 3 times higher than electrical heater. As a rule of thumb, for an Air source heat pump you get three and a half kiloWatts of heat just by supplying 1 kiloWatt of energy into it. And there are no drawbacks to speak of, especially if you use energy from renewable sources like wind, hydro or solar to run the heat pump. And even the grid electricity is becoming greener and greener thanks to the increase of the Renewable Energy Sources quota. Besides, heat pumps can be even reversible and can double as chillers covering also the cooling needs of the plant.

Development of heat pumps for residential and light commercial

During the spring we developed a new family of air source heat pumps called Zeta Sky HP. The units are designed for residential and light commercial use and are packed with smart solutions. Low energy consumption, high efficiency especially at part load, new refrigerants with low environmental impact and with full connectivity for easy integration into smart grid systems. The extreme compact structure makes them ideal for refurbishment as well as for new installations.

Refurbishment is needed

Heating is accountable for approximately 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and therefore we as engineers need to turn every stone to find ways to reduce excessive energy usage.

Heat pumps, my passion and specialty, is very much a potential tool to help reduce green gas emissions. I’m fortunate that I work in a company that has solutions to reduce energy usage. However, there are still too many furnaces, boilers and electric heating burners out their consuming unsustainable amount of energy. A low hanging fruit would be to replace them one by one with heat pumps. That would mean lower energy usage, better air and more a sustainable heating industry.

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