Transition Chepstow

Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps

The Energy Network has agreed a new project which is aimed at raising awareness and providing information about the pros and cons of investing in any or all types of Heat Pump (HP) including:

  • Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)
  • Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) – including Borehole Source Heat Pump (BSHP)
  • Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP)

 

Few people would dispute that all forms of energy costs have raised dramatically in recent years, see Recent gas and electricity price changes for gas and electricity rises between Nov10 and Dec12.  The change in Brent Crude oil prices is shown in the graph above and with the growing cost of finding and delivering oil, nothing currently on the horizon suggests that oil prices will drop significantly in the foreseeable future.  Indeed the UK Government has recently undertaken a strategic review of how the UK might cope if crude oil prices rise to $250 per barrel (currently £155 per barrel), a scenario that is conceivable if, say, Israel was to attack Iran.  The relationship between oil prices and other energy prices is seen as a major risk factor for UK householders and businesses and the consequences of diminishing worldwide crude oil reserves is thoroughly discussed on the Transition Chepstow website under a tab entitled Peak Oil – see http://www.transitionchepstow.org.uk/peak-oil/ .

The principal target audience for the HP project is people who do not have access to mains gas and where there is a growing need for alternatives to traditional energy options like coal, bottle gas, domestic oil and electric storage heater forms of house and water heating.  In particular most people living in rural areas around Chepstow seem to be currently committed to domestic oil and vulnerable to a lack of competitive sources of supply (most local suppliers are now owned by one company, GB Oils Ltd).

The HP project will aim to:

  1. identify people with heat pumps who are      willing to share related costs, performance data and experiences;
  2. where possible establish energy usage      information before and after heat pump installation – if a new build      property is involved perhaps we need to link energy usage data to house      volume and/or floor area in order to have meaningful comparisons;
  3. develop financial models using ROI      (Return on Investment) and NPV (Net Present Value) type logic – similar to      models previously developed and used by TCEN for Solar PV;
  4. research, develop and place on the TCEG      website related hard information (not sales material) and links for      anyone interested in learning more (including indicative costs, grants,      subsidies) prior to inviting potential contractors to visit their property      to confirm feasibility and provide quotes – again this was done previously      for PV;
  5. when requested provide an objective      ‘hand holding’ type support service to help local people in all aspects of      heat pump decision making – the primary aim is to help people to become      ‘informed’ potential purchasers so that they can then ask the ‘right’      questions and negotiate the best prices;
  6. develop a network of heat pump property      owners who are willing to have visitors (by appointment) to see what they      have done and answer related questions.

Regarding 1 above:  we currently have five Monmouthshire based people with first hand experience of heat pumps who are willing to co-operate with the TCEN HP project.

Regarding 2 above: click here for a case study on a local PV and Air Source Heat Pump installation in which the before and after energy usage is explained.

Regarding 4 above:  the Energy Saving Trust provides consistently good objective guidance for potential purchasers of heat pump systems and two particularly relevant  reports can be found at: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Publications2/Generating-energy/A-buyer-s-guide-to-heat-pumps  and  http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Media/Generating-energy/PDFs/Full-heat-pump-field-trial-report .  In particular the last link identifies through 83 field trials that many customers/users are not achieving the expected (promised) performance efficiencies.  The fact that many users are achieving expected performance efficiencies suggests that adoption of Heat Pumps is something to be well understood before any purchase decision is made.

If you are interested in this project (particularly if you think you can help in some way) please contact Gerry at heatpumps@transitionchepstow.org.uk .