HomeTechnologyWhich European countries will...

Which European countries will win the heat pump race?

The number of heat pumps installed in buildings worldwide will grow from 180 million units in 2020 to around 600 million in 2030, according to the IEA (photo: Kristoferb at WikiMedia)

The transition to energy efficient heating could not have been more successful with a technology other than the heat pump. The Scandinavian countries are leaders in the implementation of such technologies. Central Europe is trying to catch up, but the big trump card is in favor of Eastern European countries.

When Andreas Rosen decided to modernize his home in Germany’s Mosel wine region, he knew he wanted to upgrade his heating system with a low-carbon heat pump. “I didn’t want to leave the next generation with something that runs on oil,” says Rosen. “We were wondering what to do in the longer term and now [термопомпата] was already a feasible idea with the help of the government’.

About half of Germany’s 41 million homes currently rely on gas for heating, and another quarter on oil. In a bid to encourage homeowners to decarbonize their heating, Germany introduced a rebate scheme in January 2023, offering up to 40% back on the cost of buying and installing a heat pump.

Heat pumps use energy extracted from the environment – air, water or earth. Thus, they provide economical heating in winter and cooling in summer. They are proven to work even in extreme temperatures. They can dramatically reduce energy bills once installed because for every watt of electricity they use, they provide 3-4 to 6 watts of heat.

Ecology and economy

The subsidy scheme in Germany is just one of many support programs for heat pumps across Europe. This is part of a larger drive to reduce carbon emissions. From 2024, every new heating system installed in Germany must run on 65% renewable energy.

Bastian Distler, who lives in southwest Germany, is also considering switching to a heat pump for environmental reasons. However, he admits he could not have achieved this without the subsidy. Buying and installing a heat pump can cost anywhere from €10,000 to €30,000 – considerably more than around €7,000 for a new gas boiler.

“I have two small children. This sort of thing makes you question certain behaviors and makes you feel better if you do something good for the environment. But to be honest, without the subsidy it probably would have been very expensive and unaffordable. I probably wouldn’t have done it,” Distler says.

Even before the introduction of the scheme, however, sales of heat pumps enjoyed growth. “We had a market growth of 53% last year,” says Martin Sabel, managing director of the German Heat Pump Association. “The year before that it was about 30% and the year before that it was about 40%. So we’ve had a good growth rate for a few years now.”

The dramatic surge in demand appears to have caught some manufacturers off guard. This forces homeowners to wait up to 10 months before their new heat pumps are delivered and installed by trained technicians. And technicians are also in short supply.

Shortage of personnel

Manufacturers such as Viessmann are ramping up production, but also investing heavily in training installers, providing educational materials for prospective buyers and helping customers navigate subsidy scheme explanations.

Supporting and training installers is key to decarbonising home heating, says Günther Schlachter, Vice President of Residential Electrical Solutions at Viessmann.

“Our installer…can advise our customers [и да ги посъветва ] for choosing the cheapest gas or oil heating option, or to recommend that they take advantage of the subsidies now available to acquire a solution suitable for the future’.

“Typically, installers focus on gas boilers. For a heat pump, however, they must understand both electricity and air conditioning. So educating the end user is important, but it’s more important to educate the person selling the system – because 80% of the decision-making process happens together with the installer,” says Jürgen Fischer, President of Climate Solutions at Danfoss.

The training problem is present in most European countries. But geography and culture create quite a difference in what we expect and demand from our heating systems.

Geographical differences

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the coldest countries in Europe have the best insulated homes and the highest prevalence of heat pumps. According to the International Energy Agency, 60% of buildings in Norway are equipped with a heat pump, followed closely by Sweden with 43% and Finland with 41%.

“Scandinavia is much more advanced because it has higher insulation standards and switched from direct electric heating to heat pumps early,” says Thomas Novak, general secretary of the European Heat Pump Association.

Central Europeans also tend to have high expectations for heating and insulation. More southern countries tend not to pay as much attention to heating in favor of cooling. Flow-through gas boilers for heating water are more popular there, while Eastern Europeans often rely on solid fuel stoves.

Ownership as an advantage

Of course, not everyone can choose how to heat their home. Countries in Western Europe are characterized by low home ownership rates. This means that the responsibility for modernizing homes is the responsibility of landlords and housing management companies.

Most likely, they will invest in this direction because they are beginning to understand that decarbonization will soon start to affect the bottom line. Without the eco-friendly improvements, they will soon be unable to rent out the apartments.

For countries with a high percentage of home ownership, as in Bulgaria, this is an excellent opportunity. Most people live in their own apartment and can renovate their home without being dependent on someone else. In the presence of a reasonable, convenient system for stimulating procedures for improving energy efficiency, this would give an impetus to the introduction of heat pumps, which Western European countries cannot achieve.

- A word from our sponsors -

Most Popular

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

An Unprecedented 190% Quantum Efficiency – New Material Could Drastically Increase the Efficiency of Solar Panels

Lehigh University researchers have created a revolutionary solar cell material with...

Even Brief Secondhand Smoke Exposure Increases Risk of Dangerous Heart Rhythm Disorder

New research indicates that even minimal exposure to secondhand smoke increases...

Neuronal Crossroads: Decoding Brain Development

New research uncovers the developmental pathways of inhibitory neurons in the...

Quantum Control Unlocked: Creating Resistance-Free Electron Channels

New research demonstrates control over quantum states that could revolutionize energy...

- A word from our sponsors -

Read Now

An Unprecedented 190% Quantum Efficiency – New Material Could Drastically Increase the Efficiency of Solar Panels

Lehigh University researchers have created a revolutionary solar cell material with up to 190% external quantum efficiency, pushing beyond conventional efficiency limits and showing great promise for enhancing future solar energy systems. Further development is required for practical application, supported by a U.S. Department of Energy grant.It...

Even Brief Secondhand Smoke Exposure Increases Risk of Dangerous Heart Rhythm Disorder

New research indicates that even minimal exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder. The study, involving over 400,000 adults from the UK Biobank, found a progressive increase in risk with longer exposure durations, regardless of the environment. The findings...

Neuronal Crossroads: Decoding Brain Development

New research uncovers the developmental pathways of inhibitory neurons in the brain, highlighting the roles of proteins like MEIS2 and DLX5 in neuron differentiation and the potential link to neurodevelopmental disorders through genetic mutations. Credit: SciTechDaily.comStudy reveals how proteins direct nerve cell precursors to turn into specialized...