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New studies confirm heat pumps efficiency in below-freezing temperatures

New studies confirm heat pumps efficiency in below-freezing temperatures

14 September 2023

Oxford University and the Regulatory Assistance Project have spent time researching how well heat pumps perform when temperatures drop below freezing.

A new study has found that heat pumps could be as much as two and three times more efficient than oil and gas-based fossil heating systems in cold and sub-zero temperatures, making them suitable and cost-effective for the vast majority of homes in Europe.

It has been alleged that heat pumps can struggle to adequately heat homes when temperatures have dropped below freezing. However, the real-world installations found that heat pumps actually perform significantly better than their fossil-fuel-based competitors, even in temperatures approaching -30C!

The study carried out by Oxford University and the Regulatory Assistance Project concluded that standard heat pumps are suitable for almost all European homes. It is also noted that whilst heat pump intake rose by 11% in 2022, a combination of public perceptions and insufficient government support means that rates in which heat pumps are being installed in many countries are falling behind the levels needed to decarbonise the heating sector and ensure net zero emission targets are met.

If energy targets are wanted to be met by 2030, the supply of heat through heat pumps needs to at least triple in the EU and requires a renewed effort from the industry and renewed policymakers to promote efficiency and effectiveness.