Heat Pumps for New Builds and Self-Builders

Heat pumps are becoming the heating solution of choice for new build properties and for self-builders

A heat pump’s ability to meet a wide range of needs makes them an ideal heating system for a wide range of projects and applications, however large or small.

The benefits of Heat Pumps for New Builds and Self-Builders

Lowered heat demand and higher heat retention

Changes and advancements to Building Regulations in modern times have lent themselves to the installation of air and ground source heat pump solutions. Increases in insulation regulations and thermal efficiency have significantly lessened the space heating demand within a property and, as such, has changed the way heat is required.

Lowered heat losses through building fabric mean that heat is retained within the heat. As heat pumps emit heat continuously at lower temperatures over longer periods of time, the relationship between new builds and heat pumps is perfect. Customers are able to reduce the running costs of their home or business and enhance the comfort inside the building by maintaining constant temperatures to the level desired by the owner or occupants.

Ability to prioritise hot water as the primary heat load

In addition to higher heat retention, in particularly well insulated new builds, often above Building Regulations, hot water demand has become the primary heat load. In this instance, smart controllers within the heat pump mean they are able to prioritise hot water provision as the primary heat demand.

Traditionally, heating systems have been designed to focus mainly on efficiency when it comes to space heating provision. However, as certain heat pump systems are able to focus on efficiency in regards to hot water provision, further energy savings can be made. Considering the hot water demand in comparison to space heating demand can help determine what the primary load is and the best way to meet it.

Installation can coincide with the manner of the build

More a benefit to new builds in general, but still equally as relevant to heat pump systems, heat pump installations are much more straightforward on new builds. Installed systems can be designed and timed to match that of the wider project in order to reduce inconvenience and, potentially, lower cost.

In addition, considering a heat pump system when designing a new build ensures that suitable locations for the external heat pump unit, the internal hot water cylinder and the pipework in between can be suitably homed.

Well suited to underfloor heating which is popular in new builds and self-builds

Considering underfloor heating for your new build? Then a heat pump system will be ideal for you.

Underfloor heating systems will usually require heat at around 35 degrees, which is notably cooler than that provided by traditional gas and oil boilers – this causes a problem. On the other hand, a correctly designed heat pump will produce temperatures specifically for underfloor heating which maximises the efficiency of both the underfloor heating and the heat pump system. Again, this will reduce running costs but will also lessen the risks of any problems with the underfloor heating pipe.

Access to the RHI scheme

Self-builders installing an air or ground source heat pump in their new build can now access the Renewable Heat Incentive from the day their building is signed off.

The Renewable Heat Incentive, or RHI for short, offers financial incentive to customers switching to a renewable heating solution. The scheme pays customers at a set rate for the renewable heat produced by their system. The aim of the RHI is to bridge the gap in costs between installing a traditional alternative and a renewable solution.

Traditionally, it used to be the case that heat pump customers would have to occupy their new build for 183 days (half a year) before being able to access the scheme. New rules put into place by Ofgem during 2016 now mean that application to the RHI scheme can be made as soon as the building’s been completed and payments can be recouped sooner.

More information on the Renewable Heat Incentive can be found on our ‘Renewable Incentives’ page.

SAP assessment contribution

As many customers may already know and as many will soon find out, passing SAP calculations is not a given these days. Specifying a heat pump as the intended heating system will score favourably when going through SAP assessment. Quoting a heat pump to Building Control will help to get the proposed build approved and reflect positively on other aspects of build requirements.

Practical implications

Heat pump systems, unlike biomass and oil but similar to gas, require no regular, constant, fuel deliveries, minimalizing their disruption on day-to-day life. Heat is continuously sourced from the air or ground, regardless of the outside ambient temperature. This is of particular benefit to customers with access and mobility restrictions and occupied second homes and holiday lets. As well, the requirement for a large, obstructive fuel store is removed.

Heat pumps are an ideal heating solution for a home or business that doesn’t benefit from mains gas connection. Cheaper to run and simpler to install than just about any other non-gas heating solution, heat pumps can be the answer for off-gas properties.

For more information on why heat pumps are suited to off-gas regions, click here.