Boris Johnson discusses introduction of heat pumps to UK homes
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Professors Trygve Eikevik and Petter Nekså of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology said: “Show us your heat pump, and we’ll tell you if you’re using it right.” They added: “When heat pump researchers like us visit folks, we usually go to their heat pump and look at the remote control.” When buying a heat pump, the duo said, consumers should remember one thing: “Never set it and leave it on the ‘Auto’ function all year long.”
The experts explained: “As you may know, the heat pump has a cold side and a hot side.
“It picks up heat from the outdoor air in the winter, and cools it down in the summer by removing the heat from indoors and delivering it outside.
“If you set the heat pump temperature to 23 degrees, for example, it will indeed heat in the winter.
“But then along comes spring and summer, and the sun. Suddenly, the heat pump begins to cool down the temperature instead to maintain the temperature you set it at.
“It uses electricity to do this, which can quickly appear on your invoice. Most likely you could actually tolerate having it a little warmer indoors in the summertime.
“So pay attention to your heat pump, and think about how you can use it to your best advantage. Use it consciously.
“Set the temperature to Heat when you need heating and to Cool when you need cooling — and never to Auto!”
The researchers also said it is “so important” for the world to continue making refrigeration technology more environmentally friendly.
They said: “You might remember that in the 1980s people were blown away when they realised that the gases used in everything from refrigerators to hair sprays […] were contributing to creating holes in the ozone layer.”
These gases are commonly referred to as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
The pair continued: “Then something happened that should be an inspiration for the countries that are working on climate adaption today.
“UN member states agreed to reduce and phase out the ozone-depleting gases, and went ahead and did so.”
Referred to by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date”, the so-called Montreal Protocol has seen the hole in the ozone layer gradually shrink.
Following the realisation of the importance of moving away from CFCs and HCFCs, researchers turned their attention to some of the older approaches to refrigeration that were employed back in the 1930s.
Professors Eikevik and Nekså explained: “The natural refrigerants used then included carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrocarbons and water — and researchers have further developed this technology.
“Natural refrigerants have several benefits, including that they are not difficult to obtain. Nor do possible emissions from these gases affect the ozone layer or the greenhouse effect like CFC and HCFC emissions do.
“These natural refrigerants still dominate in the best refrigeration technology we have today.”
According to the duo, however, the situation could still be improved.
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Professors Eikevik and Nekså said: “Natural refrigerants as they are used in facilities have a far greater potential than how they are currently being utilised.
“The more testing and development we do, the more applications we’re finding that can be replaced by heat pumps.
“Some store chains already save a lot of energy with their own cooling and heat pump systems by using full energy recovery to heat the stores.”
The duo concluded: “Not only do we save emissions by using heat pump technology, but it is also more energy efficient.
“According to the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency alone will be the measure that will be able to save the most CO2 emissions by 2030 – even if the focus is on renewable energy sources, including biofuels.”
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