How heat pumps can help on the road to Net Zero

Business Insights

Solar panels and wind turbines have long been the symbols of greener, cleaner energy. But there are other proven technologies that are being adopted to help drive us towards a lower carbon future, ready for the UK's legal Net Zero deadline of 2050. Now is the time to think about reducing your business's carbon footprint, to make sure you don't get left behind.

Decarbonising heat to reduce your carbon footprint

Businesses need to balance more sustainable energy options with cost efficiency. Integrating greener solutions into your energy mix is a good way to do this, as you are able to reduce your carbon footprint without increasing your energy bills. Many businesses may have already started to think about making their energy supply greener, by installing technology such as solar panels. However, new innovations are taking the green energy market by storm. Heat pumps are fast becoming an attractive option to introduce to your energy mix to help decarbonise heat. They work by extracting energy from the ground, air or water, and transferring this heat energy from one area to another in the same way that a refrigerator or air conditioning unit operates.

The process works as follows: extremely cold fluid circulates through tubing in the heat pump’s external network. This fluid absorbs the heat from the surroundings which then vaporises the fluid, and compressing this generates heat. In summer these systems can act as air conditioners by taking energy from inside buildings and moving it outside, giving heat pumps a dual purpose and reducing the need for separate temperature control systems.

A carbon neutral process

Although a good way of decarbonising a heating supply, heat pump systems do consume a significant amount of electricity, for example for three units of heat energy produced by a typical system, around one unit of electrical energy will be consumed. By using renewable electricity the system becomes carbon neutral, as evidenced by Veolia's work with a number of district heating schemes. We've pioneered the use of heat pump systems that take heat from waste water to provide heat for homes, and we power these systems by generating renewable electricity from biogas extracted from the same wastewater. This produces 2.9MW of heat and 1MW of electricity, to create a complete carbon-free heating solution for communities.

It's not just communities who can benefit from heat pump solutions. Buildings that use a lot of heat, such as hospitals, can also utilise them as part of their decarbonisation strategy. With the NHS aiming for a Net Zero deadline of 2040, heat pumps could play a significant role in decarbonising the healthcare sector. Similarly, university campuses are looking at lowering their carbon footprint with this approach. With many homes suitable for the installation of heat pumps, they are currently dominating conversations about decarbonising heat across the board.

Getting the balance right

Customers need solutions that balance cost savings with environmental benefits, and in this environmentally conscious age, can't focus on one at the expense of the other. Utilising a blended energy approach is the best way to strike the perfect balance. By looking at a wide range of energy and heating technologies, it is possible to choose energy options which offer financial savings, and balance these with greener solutions like heat pumps, which are guaranteed to offer carbon savings.

As the UK moves to lower carbon dependence, heat pump solutions will become more widely adopted. It is possible to integrate these systems with existing heating infrastructure, and to power these systems using renewable electricity, allowing you to take complete control of your energy costs. This is where a partnership with an expert energy team becomes invaluable, as they can support you to design, install and operate heat pump solutions. Allowing energy experts to take care of the technology lets you focus on your core business activities, helping you achieve an affordable, guaranteed zero carbon future.

How can we help you?

Veolia can support your business's journey to Net Zero. Our team can advise on the best energy and heating options to suit your needs - including heat pumps. Get in touch to find out more here: