As per the government’s plans for the UK to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, fuel-based heating systems such as gas boilers will be left in the past and replaced by their more sustainable counterpart, heat pumps.

As a result, heat pumps and heat pump services are rapidly gaining popularity as the whole construction industry will be required to start using them by 2025 in order to stay compliant with building laws and regulations.

But are heat pumps the road to net zero, or do we need to do more to reach our goals over the next three decades?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of heat pumps available and if they are our only hope of achieving net zero. But before we do any of that, let’s first take a look at what net zero means.


What Is Net Zero?

Net Zero

If you’ve been watching or reading the news recently, you may have heard many people using the term net zero to describe the UK’s carbon and climate goals. While this sounds like a complicated term, it’s actually pretty simple. And in terms of the climate, this should be what we all work towards if we’re looking to maintain and improve the state of our planet.

Basically put, net zero is a state wherein all the greenhouse gases we put out into the atmosphere are balanced out by the number of greenhouse gases we remove. So, while this doesn’t mean eliminating practices that contribute to emissions, it means finding the right balance wherein we make a minimal impact on the environment.

While it might sound far-fetched, this is by far the most realistic goal we can have when fighting climate change. And to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, which is the goal of quite a few countries right now, including the UK, there needs to be a balance between reducing the number of emission-producing practices while also investing in technology to reduce and eliminate some of our carbon emissions.

This can encompass a wide scope of practices. For example, carbon capture technology is one of the ways we can start removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

This won’t help us reach our goal on its own, but when paired with other practices, such as using heat pumps over gas boilers to heat the millions of homes throughout the UK, reaching net-zero carbon emissions will become a much more achievable goal.

Different Types of Heat Pumps Available

Types of Heat Pumps

There are four main types of heat pumps available, including ground source, air source, water source, and hybrid.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at each one.

1. Ground Source

Ground source heat pumps are the best of the lot as they use thermal energy that is naturally stored underground. As a result, they are not only more difficult to install but are also more expensive.

However, once the geothermal heat pump is in place, it can heat a home, minimize its energy bills, and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

2. Water Source

As the name suggests, water source heat pumps use water to heat a home. And while this sounds good on paper, there are some major issues with it, which is why it’s the least popular option from the lot.

This particular heat pump needs to be close to a body of water, such as a river, lake, or other. And since most residential areas in the UK are not near such a large body of water, water-source heat pumps are not a suitable option.

3. Air Source

Air source heating pumps are the cheapest from the lot due to how simple they are in nature and to install. Granted, they aren’t the perfect option either, as they are unsuitable for climates that get too cold.

4. Hybrid

A hybrid heat pump simply refers to a heat pump that uses at least two of the above-mentioned heat pumps to heat a home. The most common combination is an air and ground source, followed by an air source and boiler.

Do We Need Heat Pumps to Achieve Net Zero?

Heat Pumps Uses

Like all of the different proposals for achieving net zero carbon emissions, heat pumps alone will not be able to help us do that. However, when all environmentally-friendly solutions work in tandem towards achieving the same goal, we stand a much better chance of becoming a net-zero nation by 2050.

So yes, we do need heat pumps on our way to achieve net zero, especially when we consider the fact that the heating of UK homes currently contributes a fairly large % of the nation’s environmental pollution.

That said, heat pumps have a long way to go. Many modern homes still rely on boilers and furnaces when temperatures drop. So, for heat pumps to help us reach our net-zero goals, we have to start adopting them as soon as possible.

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Arnab Das is a passionate blogger who loves to write on different niches like technologies, dating, finance, fashion, travel, and much more.

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