Ever since the introduction of the CERT (Carbon Emissions Reduction Target) which came into effect in the UK in April of 2008, the UK Government has been working towards a target of a more sustainable Britain.
The aim of CERT is to reduce CO2 emissions, which are one of the main causes of climate change. The programme will run for 3 years (finishing therefore this year in 2012) and will hope to make a net saving of 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 by the end of the programme. The CERT programme ties in with the Kyoto Protocol which states that nations must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 22 per cent from 1990 by 2008-2012.
But where do heat pumps fit into all of this legislation? Alongside encouraging citizens to improve energy efficiency by, for example, fitting loft and wall insulation, the amount of energy generated from renewable technologies will be increased such as wind turbines, solar panels and heat pumps.
The UK has always been a big champion of the wind turbine, but more recently ministers have been urged to scale back these plans with claims that wind power is simply too expensive and can’t always bring the desired returns. For this reason, other renewable energies have come to the forefront and the government are hoping that heat pumps will play a major part in the low-carbon developments. With this in mind, green ministers are launching a £35m fund to help entrepreneurs demonstrate low-carbon technologies – including heat pumps. This New Energy Entrepreneurs Fund will allow businesses to apply for up to £1m worth of funds to help to leverage private investments.
Heat pumps offer a low-carbon solution to heating premises, and can also provide hot water. There are two main types of heat pumps: ground source and air source. Ground source heat pumps are made up of pipes which are buried underground – which means that obviously geography can play a part in whether they are suitable for a home or business. The second type, air source heat pumps, fix to the side of a building and work on the same principle as a fridge – but in reverse. Both heat pumps work on the same principle – they heat a fluid which is then passed through a compressor which raises it to a higher temperature and allows it to heat water for circuits in the house.
Heat pumps give you a variety of benefits, the most obvious being that your fuel bills will be lowered – you will need less fuel to heat your home and provide hot water which also means that the hassle of fuel deliveries will be taken away. Secondly you’ll be contributing to a sustainable future by lowering your carbon footprint and they need very little maintenance following installation.
Last year, the ‘clean energy’ sector attracted almost £5bn in private investment, partly due to incentives offered by the government, but it is also clear to see that these kinds of installations are not a fad and are likely to continue for years to come – in turn boosting the UK’s economy. Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, fully expects the UK to meet the target of sourcing 30% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the £35m government funding for the New Energy Entrepreneurs Fund will certainly go a long way to help the UK to attain these goals.