How to choose the best heat pump? Guidelines of the Swiss Heat Pump Test Centre.

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80% of new houses in Europe are equipped with heat pumps. How to choose the best one for my house or other  investment?

A heating system based on a heat pump is characterised by durability, low maintenance and low operating costs. Eurostat data shows that heating still constitutes a significant portion of house maintenance costs. This is why a properly chosen, designed and professionally built heating system is so important to each homeowner.

cost structure

How others build?

In Switzerland, 75% of newly-built homes are equipped with heat pumps. In Austria, Germany, Finland and Norway, heat pumps are installed in every third house being built, with France nearing a similar index. Boiler installations are also being replaced with heat pumps in older houses. In Sweden, which leads in this respect, nearly half (700.000) of all houses are equipped with heat pumps.

Subsidies and grants

The European Union supports the pro-ecological policy, therefore in the majority of EU member states one can apply for subsidies for such projects. In France, for instance, one can deduct 50% of heat pump purchase costs from personal income tax. In Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and numerous other European countries there are various discount schemes and financial incentives that reduce investment and sometimes operational costs by tens of percent. 

How does a heat pump work?

By using 1 kWh of electric power, a heat pump “pumps” 2÷4 kWh of thermal power from the heat source to the rooms, thereby effectively providing  3-5 kWh of thermal energy. One can assume that ¾ of the heat heating the house comes from energy accumulated in the ground, water or air, and just ¼ from power plants.


How does a heat pump work? – watch a short film.

In other words, if we heat the house with electric power, then using heat pumps allows you to reduce electricity bills by 75%. With current oil and natural gas prices, it means heating is over 4x cheaper than in the case of oil and 2x cheaper than with natural gas. At present it is the cheapest heating solution in the majority of European countries. 

heat pump principle

How to choose the best heat pump in the jungle of offers?

Of course, you can start your individual journey through manufacturer offers and simply compare the individual models. Why lose time, however, when somebody else has already done that for you? The independent Swiss Heat Pump Test Center publishes valid heat pump measurement results. Power testing covers determination of the heating power as well as heat power coefficients.

The control is conducted in line with the EN 14511 control standard “Air conditioners, liquid chilling packages and heat pumps with electrically driven compressors for space heating and cooling” and EN 14825 “Air conditioners, liquid chilling packages and heat pumps, with electrically driven compressors, for space heating and cooling”. 

SCOP and COP – how to compare heat pump offers?

In order to compare something, it must be reduced to a common denominator. In the case of heat pumps, this means comparing the same thing under the same conditions. In short, we need parameters that allow the average user to compare the energy efficiency of various heat pumps made by various manufacturers and estimate the costs of energy necessary to heat your own home. 

Thus, in the case of heat pumps we use the COP (Coefficient of Performance) and the new SCOP (Seasonal Coefficient of Performance) parameters, in line with the EN 14825 standard. Air / water heat pumps are measured for example for outside air temperature of +10, +7, +2, -7 and -15°C.

The COP values show the ratio of heat output to electrical energy input. The higher the value, the more cost-effective and energy-efficient the heat pump

SCOP, however, is the ratio of thermal power obtained or needed to heat the building throughout the whole heating season, to electric power consumed throughout the whole season. While energy needed in the season is fairly easy to be determined, since it stems from the parameters of our house, the electrical energy used for the manufacturing of a heat pump is much harder to estimate. Especially in the case of air heat pumps.

ERP in addition, the new EU directive even further simplifies consumer lives by defining the energy class for heat pumps in connection with the SCOP parameter, which has been shown in the table below. Therefore it states that heat pumps with the A+++ label are the most energy efficient ones, which means that their SCOP is equal to or higher than 5.10.

erp

Measurement results from 2015

The present heat pump measurement results performed by the independent Swiss Heat Pump Test Center come from 2015. 

In the category:

  • Air/water heat pumps for the SCOP parameter for the moderate climate, two Hoval heat pumps achieved the highest values: „Belaria Twin I“ SCOP 3,9 and „Belaria® twin IR“ SCOP 3.8.

In the category:

  • Ground water/water heat pump: the market continues to have two leaders, which have obtained the same value of the COP parameter - 6.3. One of the champion is Thermalia® pump by Hoval

Belaria – air water heat pump

Belaria® air/water heat pumps use energy from the free ambient air for room and water heating. In this way, they are highly efficient and offer an attractive price/performance ratio.

Even for old building renovations – where system requirements demand high temperatures of over 60°C and conventional air/water heat pumps reach their limits. With the Belaria® air/water heat pumps, it is possible to utilise fresh air as energy at temperatures as low as -20°C. However, the lower the temperature, the lower the heat output. 

Belaria

For this reason, air/water heat pumps are equipped with additional heaters in some cases, and these cover peak heat demands when outside temperatures are extremely low. The ambient heat content of the air is used to produce thermal heat for the entire house using electricity as the drive energy. 1 kilowatt of electricity can produce up to 5 kilowatts of heat. Hoval air/water heat pumps can also be used in the summer to actively cool your indoor climate. This extended comfort function is integrated into choosen Belaria® models.

Thermalia® - earth and ground water heat pump

The Thermalia® earth and ground water heat pumps gain valuable energy from the earth or ground water. With an audited COP of up to 6.6 to obtain more heat from the used power than any other heat pump technology.
1 kilowatt of electricity can produce 4.5 to 6.6 kilowatts of heat. 

Thermalia

The Thermalia® heat pump range covers all fields of application, from a single family home to medium-sized residential, commercial or municipal buildings. In their standard design, the devices are capable of generating flow temperatures of 60 to 62 °C. The H design can even produce temperatures of up to 70 °C. This makes it suitable for operation with conventional radiators, which is important in the renovation of old buildings or the upgrade of heating. All models are available with a passive cooling function. 

How does installation of a ground heat pump look like?

heat pump instalation

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Author
Hasler Philipp
 
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