Commercial air source heat pumps
Tired of high heating costs? Looking for a cost-effective solution for your business? Here's everything you need to know about air source heat pumps in commercial settings.
How do air source heat pumps work?
Air source heat pumps (ASHP) extract heat from the outside air, using it to heat water and radiators in larger buildings.
The heat pump absorbs outdoor air and transfers it indoors for heating. During summer, it absorbs heat from the indoor air and releases it outdoors. This cycle can be reversed to offer both heating and cooling.
By using this method, it becomes possible to emulate the environment of a traditional boiler system, while minimising the environmental impact.
Are heat pumps suitable for commercial properties?
Most modern or newly built properties are likely to have some form of heat pump technology installed, especially those designed for habitation or regular human activity like hotels, offices, and retail spaces.
However, older buildings such as warehouses, workshops, or industrial facilities may not be ideal candidates for air source heat pumps due to their lack of insulation. Good insulation is crucial for heat pump systems to operate efficiently, and without it, the system would need to work harder to maintain a steady temperature.
Installation costs and space requirements should also be considered. For example, ground source heat pumps can be more expensive and disruptive to install. Where as air source heat pumps are generally easier and less expensive to install.
More so, air source heat pump systems require external machinery that needs sufficient outdoor space and occasionally permission to install. If space is limited or if drilling boreholes is necessary, the cost of installation could become unaffordable.
Benefits of commercial air source heat pumps
Heat pumps can provide several benefits to businesses, both financially and environmentally:
Heat pumps are an energy efficient, eco-friendly alternative to traditional heating systems. They consume less energy, offering lower energy bills as a result.
While the initial installation cost can be high, heat pumps can add significant savings to your properties. By using less energy, heat pumps can help businesses save money on heating costs. Along with the long lifespan of systems, they are ideal for the long-term.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing an older, G-rated gas boiler for a well-designed heat pump could save you around £295 a year on energy bills. Where as replacing an old electric storage heater could save you £1,100 annually.*
*Correct as of October 2023
ASHPs are a renewable system that can both heat and cool a home efficiently. With both these functions, it eliminates the need for separate systems. Helping to reduce upkeep and installation costs.
Heat pumps can reduce emissions, relying on air instead of fossil fuels. By using renewable energy sources, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint. Also, making a positive impact on the environment.
Heat pump systems can also be compatible with renewable energy sources such as solar panels.
Low Noise Levels
Renewable heating systems are designed to reduce noise. This is beneficial for locations, such as offices, hotels, and retail spaces. Low noise levels allow for a quiet atmosphere for employees, customers, and guests. Systems typically reach 40-60 decibels, equivalent to a quiet office space.
The UK government has recognised the importance of transitioning from fossil fuel boilers heating systems such as gas, oil and electric to achieve its carbon reduction targets. To meet these targets several programs have been introduced to support and encourage UK companies to adopt heat pump technology.
One such initiative is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), which aims to assist commercial and non-domestic properties in making the switch to low carbon heating systems. The scheme offers grants of up to:
- £7,500 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
- £7,500 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump, including water source heat pumps
- £5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler
This aims to make the switch to sustainable energies more affordable for both commercial businesses and households.
Will I be eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
To be eligible for BUS, you must:
- own the property you’re applying for - this includes businesses, second homes, or if you rent out the property
- have installed (or plan to install) your new heating system on or after 1 April 2022
- be replacing fossil fuel heating systems such as oil, gas or electric
- have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. You can still apply if you’ve had separate funding for upgrades, such as insulation, doors or windows.
- meet minimum efficiency levels
You won't be eligible if you:
- are replacing a low carbon heating system like heat pumps, solar water heating and biomass boilers
- have a system with a maximum capacity more than 45kWth
- have a new build property or social housing
- have already received government funding or support for a heat pump or biomass boiler
Factors to consider when installing a commercial heat pump
There are a wide range of factors to consider when installing an air heat pump. Each can ensure that the heat pump is suitable for their needs and maximises its potential.
The local climate plays a significant role in the performance of a heat pump. Heat pumps are more efficient in mild climates, where the outdoor temperature doesn't frequently drop below freezing.
Building size and insulation
Size and insulation of the commercial building are key considerations. The pump's capacity should match the energy demands of the building.
An energy assessment can help work out size and energy requirements. Well-insulated buildings minimise heat loss, improving efficiency.
Air source heat pumps require outdoor space for installation. Consider your outdoor space, as well as any clearance requirements.
Large heat pumps are widely used in a variety of settings, including schools, gyms, shops, and office buildings. Where as smaller buildings may only be able to opt for smaller heat pump systems to avoid complications with the installation.
Compatibility with existing systems
Assess the compatibility of the heat pump with existing HVAC systems and controls. Integration with the building and controls is required for optimal performance.
How much does a commercial air heat pump cost?
ASHPs are generally a more cost-effective option compared to traditional gas or electric heating solutions. Depending on the size and efficiency of your system, you could stand to save a few hundred pounds per year.
It’s an increasingly attractive option for businesses that want to reduce their operating costs. By switching from fossil-fuel-powered heating, companies can worry less about skyrocketing energy costs.
How long does a commercial air source heat pump last?
Heat pump systems typically have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. However, regular maintenance and proper usage can help extend their longevity up to 25 years or more. To ensure your heat pump lasts beyond the average lifespan, keep it clear of any debris.
If you have any questions about installing a renewable heating system on your business premises, we're happy to help. Call us on 01392 979450, or email us at enquiries@Unitherm.co.uk and tell us about your project.