Heat pumps provide an energy efficient way of converting heat from a low temperature to a higher one, or vice versa. They can be used to power radiators and heat the water in a boiler or as an air-conditioner to cool a space.
Heat pumps can be operated with natural refrigerants; hydrocarbons, ammonia and carbon dioxide. Although the initial outlay for systems is sometimes high, some governments offer incentive schemes to encourage their uptake. Global demand for heat pumps is growing, between 2017-2018 global sales rose by 32% to 4.5 million units, with Asia representing 84% of the market.
number of units sold annually worldwide in 2018
The 100-year Global Warming Potential ( GWP ) of HFC-407C, commonly used in heat pumps
Air Source heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling. Recent energy efficiency improvements mean they are now economically competitive, even in more extreme climates.
Geothermal or ground source heat pumps are most commonly used to supply heat, however they can also be modified to cool a building.
Water source heat pumps can be used for heating and cooling. Pipes running to a nearby body of water (river, lake, large pond or borehole) allow it to be used as either a heat source or heat sink.