Heat Pumps: What developers need to know

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Heat Pumps: What developers need to know

As part of the government’s plan for the United Kingdom to reach net zero by 2050, as of 2025, newly built properties are no longer allowed to use gas boilers or other fuel-based alternatives as a heating system.

As a result of that, heat pumps seem to be the next logical step towards becoming more environmentally friendly, which is the reason behind the growing number of heat pump services being offered on the market.

As far as property developers are concerned, they also need to start preparing to adapt to these changes if they want to stay compliant with these new laws and regulations.

If you’re a property developer in the UK and want to learn more about heat pumps and what they might mean for your business moving forward, keep on reading. In this article, we’ll not only go over what heat pumps are but also give you a guide on how to approach them so the friction in adopting heat pumps in your developments is minimal.

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a new type of a heating system currently dominating the market. The main difference between these pumps and traditional heating systems like a furnace is that they don’t require fossil fuels, which have a pretty bad impact on the environment.

Instead, heat pumps make use of heat that is naturally present in the environment, and all they do is transfer it from the outdoors and into the home. As a result of that, zero energy is spent in generating the heat, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of each home that makes use of such a heat system.

With that said, there are a variety of different heat pumps available, including ground source, air source, water source, hybrid, and a few more.

Each of these heat pumps has its benefits and drawbacks. For instance, ground-source heat pumps are the best but they are also the most expensive. Water source heat pumps are great, but they need the property to be near a pool of water such as a river or a lake.

As far as air-source heat pumps, those are great because they do a great job and are cheap, but not suitable for climates that get too hot

A Developer’s Guide to Heat Pumps

When installing a heat pump in a new build, there are quite a few things to consider. This can be complicated as you already have to think about so many factors as a developer. However, considering how heat pumps are poised to be a significant part of the future, it’s important to get on board as soon as possible.

Finding the Right Size

The first thing developers need to consider when incorporating a heat pump into a new build is the size of the pump necessary. To pick a pump of adequate size, they must take into consideration the heat loss of the building, the climate, and the overall size of the property. That way, the inhabitants of the home can stay warm even during the colder temperatures.

Choosing Heat Emitters

There’s a misconception that heat pumps don’t work as well as gas boilers. This is because gas boilers typically produce warmer temperatures than heat pumps. However, developers can completely make up for this loss by choosing the right heat emitters for their projects.

When using heat pumps, it’s best to have the widest surface area possible for the heat emitters. That way, they can transfer more heat than usual even with a lower flow temperature.

The struggle for developers is finding ways to maximize the emitter’s space without eating up too much wall space. One of the ways developers get around this is by using triple and double panels over single panels.

Using Spatial Design

Spatial design is crucial when incorporating a heat pump in a new build. You need specific airflow around the outdoor unit to maximize the heat pump’s capabilities. And while the spacial design is very important in any structure, it’s even more significant when dealing with heat pumps.

Heat Pump Installation

Some tips to keep in mind when installing heat pumps include:

  • Create pre-installation checklists
  • Tailor installation for every build
  • Design heat pumps around the build
  • Always conduct leak and pressure tests
  • Try to incorporate other sustainable practices to maximise the what pump

With that said, you also need to take into account the type of heat pump you plan on installing as each one is different from the next. Ground source heat pumps for example will require much more work than an air source heat pump, hence the higher price.

Conclusion

As early as 2025, developers of new builds from across the UK will be required to start using more environmentally friendly heating solutions within their builds, and heat pumps seem to be the next logical step forward.

With that said, they are completely different from anything we’ve seen before and will require some time to get used to when it comes to financing them, installing them, and seeing the long-term benefits.

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