What are heat pumps and could they be the greener option for heating your home?

Hello everyone!

Last week we talked about energy islands, a pretty cool idea from one of the “megaprojects”. This week I want to talk about heat pumps. A heat pump is a device for heating or cooling a building using technology similar to that found in a fridge or an air conditioner. If you are like me and didn’t know what they are, you aren’t alone. So let’s learn more together.

Heat Pumps

In order to reach net-zero carbon emissions in the UK, swapping gas boilers for electric heaters (heat pumps) is vital. And currently, the process is slow. This is due to a few things like policy mess, such as the delayed ban on the installation of new gas boilers from 2026 to 2035.

Another reason for the slow swap is that people just want to feel warm, with as few complications as possible. Installing heat pumps is not straightforward. It is a long process and, of course, costs money. Money is the other concern. A cool new term I have learnt is the “spark gap”, which is the difference in price between electricity and gas. However, the not-so-cool reality is that the UK’s “spark gap” is one of the largest in Europe. Even though heat pumps are more efficient, they are more expensive to run than gas boilers.

Would you spend more money for a more environmentally friendly option?

So, it’s pretty clear that although heat pumps are the “greener” option, it is not proving worthwhile for most people. This is a shame as they are an energy efficient, low carbon way to heat the home. Can we make it work?

There are ways to get help financially for heat pumps, in England and Wales you can get up to £7,500 of government funding. If you want to find out more about heat pumps, Energy Saving Trust are very informative on the myths and different types of heat pumps.

Solar Power & Heat Pumps

As you know by now, I am a great advocate for solar panels. Solar panels work very well with air source heat pumps. Air source heat pumps are reliant on electricity, which we would like to reduce the consumption of, and solar panels can lower running costs and make it almost 100% sustainable! Now that is pretty good.

Despite the negativity towards heat pumps, it can work. It is not always a simple path to make your life more sustainable, but hopefully, the promise of a greener future for everyone makes it worth it.

I hope everyone had a lovely week, and I will see you next week for another Amy’s Hot Topic.


#undertwok #2kWh



New Scientist – Heat pumps: how to speed up the switch to low-carbon home heating – Madeleine Cuff – 26th March 2024.

IEA – how a heat pump works.


Energy Saving Trust

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