Thermal Comfort  

Air-to-water heat pumps: a greener option to heat the home

What are they? 

Air-to-water heat pumps absorb the heat from the outside air, transforming it into heat for radiators, underfloor heating systems, warm air convectors, and hot water.

The technology absorbs air, transforms it into a liquid and then compresses it. After this, the remaining hot water is transferred to water circuits which provide the building with an ambient overall temperature. Air-to-water heat pump technology differs from traditional boilers (ground source heat pumps), as it utilizes the heat from surrounding environment, which can occur even when the temperature is as low as -15°C.

The pumps distribute heat via a central heating system, which is more sustainable as the systems work at a much lower temperature than standard boilers. The technology consumes much less energy than traditional heating systems, making them a more sustainable way to heat buildings at a lower cost. For example, in the case of LG’s Therma V air-to-water heat pump, only 25% of electricity is needed whilst 75% of energy is garnered from the atmosphere making the systems convenient for underfloor heat networks and large radiators which allow the devices to give out heat at a lower temperature over a longer period of time.

Sustainability 

Although air-to-water heat pumps need electricity to run, the energy extracted by the system is continuously renewed as it is extracted from the surrounding environment, contributing to a circular economy and reducing people’s heating bills by 450%.

The increasing popularity of air-to-water pump technology, both in commercial builds and domestic new builds illustrates a cultural shift towards circular economies highlighting the importance and market demand for more renewable sources of energy. Circular economies are alternatives to traditional linear economies, which in the past have wasted excess energy, having no strategy in place to reuse it. In comparison, circular economy systems strive to keep resources for as long as possible, using and regenerating products at the end of the service life.

Technologies that contribute to circular economies are important in decreasing waste and encouraging innovation in design, leading to opportunities for building a better, more efficient and healthier economy.