Decarbonisation of buildings' heating system with heat pump technologies: an overview of EU policies, projects, and implementation

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Emily Coe-Björsell

170 Last modified by the author on 03/01/2024 - 15:23
Decarbonisation of buildings' heating system with heat pump technologies: an overview of EU policies, projects, and implementation

As the European Union strives to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, heat pumps have emerged as key players in revolutionising our buildings. The article addresses EU policies, financial instruments, and EU-funded projects to enhance heat pump installations in buildings and to overcome the current barriers.

These innovative technologies leverage renewable energy sources, offering a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to traditional heating systems.

What are heat pumps ?

Heat pumps are devices that transfer heat from one location to another using a refrigeration cycle or a thermodynamic process. They can be used for heating, hot water, and space cooling purposes in buildings and are a mature technology which is much more efficient than boilers. There are different types of heat pumps:

  • Air source heat pumps: They use the energy from outside air or air from ventilation systems for heating, cooling, and heating water.
  • Water source heat pumps: They use the energy stored in ground water, surface, or sea or sewage water. Heat is absorbed from water, and is made available for heating, cooling, and preparation of hot water.
  • Ground source heat pumps: They use the energy stored in the ground, from which they extract heat.
  • Hybrid heat pumps: This refers to an appliance or a system of appliances which combines at least two different energy sources and whose operation is managed by one control. The hybrid heat pump combines an electric heat pump with a condensing boiler. The reliance on two technologies makes them very efficient in different seasons.

What about heat recovery systems for buildings? The primary distinction between a heat pump and heat recovery cycle is that a heat pump cycle produces only one effect (e.g. heating or cooling) at a time whereas a heat recovery cycle produces both effects simultaneously. Read more on BUILD UP

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