One of the most exciting things about heat pumps is that they provide an environmentally friendly solution to heating your home. Below are the main reasons why we think they’re a great way to cut your carbon emissions.

  • Reduced electricity consumption: Heat pumps operate at very high efficiencies of around 400%, which means that for every unit of electricity used, 4 units of thermal energy are created. Conventional electric heaters are at best 100% efficient, so you’ll need 75% less electricity to heat your home – electricity that may have been generated from power stations that burn fossil fuels.
  • Emission-free process: The beauty of the heat pump is that there are no harmful emissions given off locally in the process.
  • Refrigerant Fluid: A few years ago, there were some concerns raised over the environmental impact of the refrigerant fluid used in the heat pump called R404a. If this refrigerant fluid were to leak, the hydrofluorocarbons released would contribute to global warming roughly 100 times more than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, there are now several alternatives available that have much lower or even no Global Warming Potential (GWP).
  • Potential for reduced carbon impact: The table below shows different sources of fuel and their relative carbon emission rate for generating energy in the UK.
Fuel type Approximate carbon emission rate (kg CO2/kWh) Potential CO2 reduction switching to air source & ground source heat pumps
Electricity 0.447 73-75%
Gas 0.184 42-45%
Oil 0.245 56-59%
LPG 0.214 50-53%

Carbon emission rates sourced from Energy Saving Trust

As it stands, the carbon emissions for generating electricity in the UK is rather high – currently around 0.447kg CO2/kWh. This is down to the fossil fuels burnt to produce the electricity, as they give off high levels of CO2 as a by-product. What’s more, these harmful fuels often come with a high carbon footprint, since over half of the UK’s fossil fuels used to generate electricity is imported from overseas (typically from the Americas and Russia). By switching to a renewable energy provider, your heat pumps will effectively run on completely clean energy. Similarly, if you power your heat pump from the electricity generated by your solar panels, the energy input required would be next to nothing.

Sidenote – The carbon dioxide emissions for generating electricity vary depending on which country you’re in, as countries utilise different methods for generation. In France for example, the average carbon emissions for generating electricity is just 0.1kg CO2/kWh, because the country relies heavily on nuclear fission; a process which gives off significantly lower levels of greenhouse gas than burning fossil fuels.

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