Heat pumps: big in Japan, high hopes here

The largest meeting room at the Department of Energy and Climate Change was packed to the rafters – the atmosphere a little tense, a little excited.  Anticipation had been steadily building since last year.  The top climate scientist was there; the Minister of State made a flying visit too.

Yes, yesterday was the moment of truth for the heat pump industry – when the new industry standards for installation of the technologies were announced. To be specific, updates to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme MIS3005 guidelines.

If you’re not in the industry, the content was a little on the complex side (or perhaps just for this humble reporter…) but tweaks to heat loss calculations and ground loop sizing were certainly on the menu. 

One thing that was extremely clear was that the bottom line is it’s about making sure ‘the right engine’s in the right car’ when it comes to ensuring the success of heat pumps in the UK – but again, this is a simple version of the story.

It’s all the result of months of discussions and analysis by government and industry top bods – and one of the very top ones, DECC’s Professor David MacKay, spoke of his hope that tightened standards could give us similar success in rolling out the technology to the ‘Eco Cute’ heat pump in Japan. So that’s what the cartoon’s about.

If you want the full story, the new guidelines are available from the MCS website here

The event, hosted by our CEO Philip Sellwood, also saw an update on uptake of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme. Not to leave you on a cliffhanger , we’ll also tell you right now: we’ve given out 1463 vouchers to date.

Expressions of interest, which we told you about on the blog before, have roughly converted into vouchers given out – so air source heat pumps lead the field in terms of popularity (511 vouchers), from solar thermal (443), ground-source heat pumps (283) and biomass boilers (226).

Applications for the £3million pot for social housing projects close in less than a week – so local authorities and housing associations better get their skates on in completing those forms.