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How to choose the right Heat Pump for your business?

Heat Pumps enable organisations to reduce their carbon emissions and energy spend, but how do you choose between an air, ground, water or waste-source pump? We lay out some of the basics.

As a low-or-zero carbon solution, Heat pumps can provide heating from 40°C up to 165°C and do not emit any direct emissions, significantly reducing or replacing an organisation’s need to burn fossil fuels on-site. In fact, when compared to a natural gas-burning boiler, a Heat Pump can reduce your overall Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by as much as 80%.

Heat Pumps are also becoming more cost-effective, with cheaper technology available and importantly, several UK government green stimulus grants available to support businesses in switching to sustainable heat generation (such as the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, IETF).

Taken together, the range of solution options, reducing technology costs and government support make it the perfect solution for businesses and public sector organisations to take a giant step towards their net zero ambitions.

But there are a range of heat pump options out there, so which one is right for your organisation? In this article our Heat Solutions Product Manager, Luke Bannar-Martin, layouts out the basics of each option and some of the things to consider when looking to implement on-site, sustainable heat generation.


1. Air-source heat pumps

Capable of supplying hot water to any site under most conditions, this option is the least intrusive and most capital cost-effective option. Normally fitted to the side or on the roof of a building, the Heat Pump draws air from outside and transfers the heat by means of compression. By utilising a waste heat interface the heat pump can recover waste heat from chillers or waste water, thereby improving the performance and financials.


  • Lowest capex and maintenance cost option; currently eligible for government grants
  • Simple, scalable and straightforward installation
  • Possible to increase efficiency by utilising waste heat
  • Potential to integrate heat storage to load shift and enable the possibility to provide DSR services


  • Efficiency is highly dependent on ambient conditions
  • Reduced thermal energy management
  • Low efficiency of the system can impact business case
  • Lowest lifetime carbon savings of all heat pump source options
Diagram of how heat pumps work - How to choose the right Heat Pump for your business energy?

2. Ground-source heat pumps

Heat from the sun as well as from the core of the Earth keeps the ground below us at a reasonably consistent temperature all year. Ground-source Heat Pumps can use thermal boreholes as a heat source for year-round reliable and predictable source of stable temperature heat. The heat recovery loop can be used to store heat in the ground during the hotter months for drawing off during the cooling months.


  • Greatly increased seasonal performance over air-source
  • Larger reduction in associated carbon emissions
  • Ground loop system enables seasonal thermal balancing
  • Improved cash flow and eligible for green stimulus grants


  • Increased Capex relative to an air source system
  • Process to drill boreholes can be disruptive
  • Retrofit projects can be challenging due to space required
  • More complex to retrofit on an existing site than air-source


3. Water-source

A similar system to a ground-source, they extract heat from a body of water and convert it into useful heat using submerged pipes containing a working fluid to absorb heat. If available to your organisation, an open body of water (e.g. reservoir, lake, sea), a flowing body of water (e.g. river, wastewater) or underground water (e.g. aquifer) source can provide more an even more advanced heating solution.


  • Seasonal performance similar to, or better than, ground-source
  • Larger reduction in associated carbon emissions
  • Capex and land requirement lower than a ground source
  • Can use the water source to provide ‘free cooling’


  • There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ with water source systems
  • Unlike ground source systems, thermal energy management may not be possible
  • If needed, obtaining abstraction licence can be a length and complex process


Looking for more reasons to choose heat pumps?

As one of the UK’s leading business energy solutions partners, we have over 30 years’ experience in designing, financing, deploying, operating and monitoring on-site energy infrastructure.

We supply a variety of Heat Pump types to best suit your specific requirements; and a range of commercial financing options to ensure a robust business case.

  • Replace fossil fuel-based heat generation with sustainable heat generation and simplify your Scope 1 and 2 reporting
  • Deploy an efficient heating source with average savings in excess of 40-60%
  • Couple Heat Pumps with renewables such as solar to become carbon neutral or CHP to enhance heat generation
  • Implement a reliable heating system that avoids the need for excessive and time-consuming maintenance
  • Minimise planning risks, avoid obstacles and reduce project costs with our expert solution design engineering team

If you are looking for additional reasons to select heat pumps today our expert team of professionals are more than happy to discuss the advantages of this clean, affordable and sustainable technology for your business.

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