Efficiency and Sustainability: The Business Case for Commercial Air Source Heat Pumps

With a growing need for more sustainable and energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions for commercial buildings, air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are emerging as a frontrunner in the UK. These innovative systems offer businesses a dual-purpose solution that can significantly reduce energy consumption, lower carbon footprints, and offer considerable cost savings over time.

How commercial air source heat pumps work

Commercial air source heat pumps work on a similar principle to refrigerators — they use electrical power to pump fluid through a heat exchange. This process extracts heat from the external air, even in cold conditions, and uses it to warm commercial premises and provide hot water. 

Unlike traditional heating systems that generate heat, ASHPs transfer existing heat from the outside environment to the inside, making them exceptionally efficient. This process can also be reversed in warmer months, providing efficient cooling to buildings without the need for a separate system.   

Choosing the right system

There are two main configurations for a commercial air source heat pump system — a split system or a monobloc system.

Split ASHP systems have two components: an outdoor unit connected to an indoor unit, which then connects to the building's central heating and hot water storage. While offering higher total system efficiency due to most of the heat transfer happening indoors, split systems come with higher purchase and installation costs, and require sufficient space for the indoor unit — which may be a challenge for smaller businesses.

Monobloc ASHP systems feature a single outdoor unit directly connected to the building's hot water system. These systems are quicker and cheaper to install — and don't use an indoor unit, making them suitable for premises where space is limited. However, their efficiency is lower than split systems because the heat transfer process occurs outside. 

Economic and environmental benefits

One of the most compelling reasons to consider ASHPs for commercial properties is their efficiency. With efficiency ratings of up to 300%, ASHPs outperform traditional fossil-fuel-based heating systems significantly. This translates into substantial cost savings — particularly relevant when energy prices are high.

As a result, the environmental benefits are considerable, with the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 65-70% compared to traditional heating methods, helping businesses align with the UK's net-zero goals​​​​.

Installation, maintenance, and running costs

While the initial cost of a commercial air source heat pump system may be higher than traditional fossil-fuel-based systems, the long-term savings on energy bills and maintenance can make it a cost-effective choice. 

ASHPs require less maintenance than gas boilers and are known for their durability and reliability. However, it’s important to note that proper sizing and insulation of the property are crucial factors in maximising the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the system — so contracting professional consultation and installation services is a worthwhile investment​​​​.

Government support and financial incentives

The UK government has introduced financial incentives to support the adoption of air source heat pumps in commercial settings. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, for example, offers up to £7,500 towards the cost of switching from fossil-fuel-based systems to ASHPs — and is available to business owners who own their own premises. Further information is available at https://www.gov.uk/apply-boiler-upgrade-scheme.

Making the switch from fossil fuel to air source heat pump systems

Air source heat pumps represent a forward-thinking solution for commercial properties seeking to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs, and support environmental sustainability. With the backing of government incentives and the proven success of installations across the UK, now is an ideal time for businesses to explore the benefits of this technology. If you’d like to discuss the options available for your business, including related solutions such as ground or water source heat pumps, or solar PV and thermal solutions, contact us for a free initial consultation here: https://www.jlmelectrical.co.uk/contact-us

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