Ireland's only dedicated building services engineering journal
Ireland's only dedicated building services engineering journal

Heat pumps poised for lift off!

Richard Sherlock, Chairman, Heat Pump Association
Richard Sherlock, Chairman, Heat Pump Association

The HPA is now very often the first port of call for these bodies when seeking information on the sector, be it market size, technical data, energy performance criteria, etc. Current Chairman is Richard Sherlock, Field Sales Manager for the Air-conditioning and Heating Divisions, Mitsubishi Electric. Here Richard gives a brief resume of progress and developments over the years, and highlights some of the challenges facing the sector as it looks to the future.

Brands represented by the current membership include Danfoss, Hitachi, Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric,  Waterfurnace, Thermia, Panasonic, Toshiba, Alpha Innotec/Origen, Baxi Potterton Myson, Nibe, CTC Enertec, Joule/ Samsung and Stiebel Eltron.

Membership is growing at a rapid rate, perhaps not surprisingly as the market is poised for dramatic expansion. Latest HPA industry figures show heat pumps sales up over 50% from 2013 to 2014. Estimated sales figures for the first half of 2015 show that pattern continuing.

Heat pumps are an extremely efficient method of heating with primary energy efficiencies unrivalled by any other technology. The current level of  energy credits available on the SEAI energy credit list demonstrates this clearly and, with the recent addition of air to air heat pump credits, the opportunities for heat pumps is set to rise further.

Heat pumps should no longer be viewed as an emerging technology. They are now a very proven technology with volumes of evidence-based data collated from controlled monitoring now available from all the major manufacturers.

This includes both test room and living-environment settings. All demonstrate and confirm the energy reductions that accrue from installing heat pumps, and also the significant related running cost reductions.

The major impediment to development of the heat pump market has been the assumptions made in SEAI’s DEAP software and the penal factor applied to heat pumps for hot water production.

Surveys conducted by HPA have shown that, among HPA members, there is not a single heat pump which has these limitations, demonstrating that the current rules are outdated and in no way reflective of current heat pump products.

Discussions regarding some elements of the software in relation to heat pumps are at an advanced stage. SEAI recently invited comments on a set of proposals and, with this public consultation process now completed, the industry awaits the outcome of these deliberations. This is expected shortly.

Another very important issue is the imminent implementation of the section of the Erp Directive dealing with heat generators. We can used honda eu2000i generator to generate the power. Lot 10 of the Directive dealing with air conditioners with a cooling capacity of <12KW was implemented as far back as 2013. The next major change is the enactment of LOT 1 for heat generators, which includes heat pumps. This is scheduled to be take effect on 26 September next.

The Erp Directive (2009/125/EC: Eco Design) will change the heating sector and introduce new energy efficiency standards for heating technology. The Directive aims to improve the energy efficiency of products and systems and was put in place to help the EU achieve its 20-20-20 targets

Unified HPA approach                                                                                                                               Individually, HPA members have already taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance but a HPA sub-committee is currently devising a unified HPA approach to deal with the implications of ErP as it is rolled out over the coming months.

One of the goals of LOT 1 is for individuals to be able to compare technologies such as heat pumps and other heat generators on a single label so they can make an informed purchasing decision. This will not only help end-users, but also specifying consultants and heating installers.

LOT 1 is split into two basic capacity/output ranges – up to 70kW and those ranging from 70kW to 400kW. Installers will be required to fill out a “Fiche” document which will provide an energy efficiency figure for the heating system, encompassing generator, ancillaries, controls etc.

For heat pumps manufacturers one of the main market concerns is in relation to rating in the DEAP software. Industry should not confuse the requirements under ErP and EPBD … they are two different things. Essentially, having labels published for ErP has no impact in DEAP as the current methodology does not accommodate ErP labels or testing.

In fact, there is no requirement for Irish authorities to accommodate ErP in software derived from EPBD. Both Directives are independent and links between them are not defined, particularly for use in DEAP methodologies in member states.

While the foregoing points to some very obvious and serious challenges facing the development of the heat pump market in Ireland, the facts of the matter cannot be disputed. Despite some serious and unfair impediments, heat pump sales have still shown a 50% increase over the years 2013 to 2014. Once these impediments have been resolved and heat pumps given a level playing field in respect of comparisons with other heat generators, the market will continue to develop, but at an everaccelerating rate.

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