The environmental arguments in favour of heat pumps are overwhelmingly convincing, but these innovative devices have been held back, at least to some extent, by the perception that their price and running costs are too high… Until now.
Several authoritative sources have revealed that heat pumps can be cheaper to run over their operational lives than gas-powered heating.
Although they relate mainly to heat pumps in domestic settings, the principles outlined in the studies also apply in commercial applications because they rely on the fact that the head-to-head calculation of heat pumps versus fossil-fuel powered heating has changed as, among other things, the energy crisis has sent gas and oil prices soaring.
Recent analysis by environmental think-tank the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) shared with MailOnline, for example, reveals that the high cost of gas has resulted in heat pumps now being up to £261 a year cheaper to operate than a gas boiler.
According to MailOnline: “When installation is factored in, the heat pump would be £412 cheaper over a decade if it lasts to the maximum of its estimated lifetime of 20 to 25 years while the gas boiler lasts the minimum of its lifetime of 10 to 15 years.”
Meanwhile, drawing upon analysis of 60,000 heat pump installations in the UK, innovation charity Nesta has estimated that the total cost of a heat pump over an average 15-year lifetime, including the system, installation and running costs, could soon be £60 to £110 per year cheaper than a gas boiler.
Nesta says: “The most significant change would be achieved by shifting levies from electricity to gas, a move that ministers are already reportedly considering. This change would take £600 per year off the cost of running a heat pump… compared to a gas boiler.”
Another study, this time by energy contract provider Verivox, reveals that heating costs using a heat pump are around 39% lower than in applications using natural gas heating. Even with a less efficient heat pump, costs are around 11% lower, says the company.
Heat pump ROI within 10 years
If the current price difference continues, installing a new heat pump now could pay off within 10 years, the analysis shows.
A fourth study, this time from consultancy Baringa, shows that gas prices have skyrocketed due to the post-COVID global industrial recovery, and tensions between Russia and the West are leading to severe uncertainty around future gas supplies.
The company adds: “Our analysis shows that installing an air-source heat pump (including additional costs for insulation retrofits) in a standard three-bedroom house today, will return a profit of c. £3,000 over 20 years (with a 10-year payback)…
“High inflation and soaring energy bills have brought energy costs sharply into focus, and high prices could be here to stay. Any further sanctions imposed by Western governments on Russian energy supplies are likely to push costs up even further.”
Heat pump benefits
However, although it is an important consideration, cost and environmental considerations are not the only factors when deciding whether or not to specify heat pumps, especially in commercial applications. Heat pumps offer a host of solid business advantages over alternative forms of heating because they exhibit:
- Lower maintenance costs – heat pumps require less maintenance than combustion-based heating systems.
- Higher efficiency – heat pumps can achieve efficiencies of 400%.
- Greater safety – heat pumps do not rely on combustion to generate heat so there are fewer risks associated with their use.
- More flexibility – many heat pumps can offer cooling as well as heating – we offer examples that can do both at the same time.
- Long life – operational lifespans of 20 years or more are not uncommon if maintenance is carried out correctly.
To find out more about Klima-Therm’s industry-leading range of heat pumps for commercial applications, click here.