We are currently looking at a wholesale change in the way we view the heating of both commercial and residential properties. For most people, there has been the assumed use of the traditional gas boiler for decades now, and this does still have its merits. However, with a desire for the country to reach Net Zero in the UK by 2050 and the improvement in technology of alternative heat sources in recent years, commercial heat pumps could be the best way to heat your home or workspace, cut costs, and reduce your carbon footprint.
The government is pushing businesses and homes to move over to air source and ground source heat pumps, so let’s take a look at the difference between heat pumps and boilers.
What type of heat do heat pumps and gas boilers produce?
Heat pumps work in a way where heat is produced at a slow and steady pace, with a smaller temperature difference. Think about underfloor heating in particular, and how such a large surface is ideal for heat pumps and this slow rise in temperature throughout the day. In comparison, gas boilers can be cranked up to full power and heat an area in a short space of time. Think about radiators and how a small surface area can be used to heat a room very quickly, in a vast temperature difference.
Choosing to install heat pumps instead of a gas boiler will mean that you’ll need larger radiators or heated surfaces in place, and the speed of water in the circuit must be controllable too, ensuring you are always in control of your energy and heating process.
Is my commercial property right for a heat pump?
Commercial heat pumps are the perfect solution for those premises that are already well insulated and where a gradual build-up of heat is preferable over a long period of time. For office blocks and retail environments, warehouses, and production factories a ground source heat pump is perfect. They are most suitable for larger properties. A gas boiler is better suited in a building which is old and has less efficiency in terms of insulation. Boilers can heat smaller spaces much more quickly than a heat pump of any kind, but it will probably cost you more in the long run.
What are the costs for heat pumps and boilers?
There are two costs to consider here – the installation costs and the running costs.
Installation of gas boilers and heat pumps
A gas boiler is a quick and easy solution in terms of installation. You can have a new gas boiler installed within 24 hours in some cases. Costs can vary but expect to pay between £1,500 and £3,000 depending on the size and type of the property in question.
At the moment there are fewer qualified installers of heat pumps than gas boiler installers, and it can take a few days to install air source heat pumps, or a few weeks to install ground source heat pumps. Heat pumps are costly, costing between £8,000 and £25,000 depending on the type of pump and whether you are looking at residential or commercial heat pumps, but worth it in the long-term.
One of the reasons that heat pumps are becoming increasingly attractive to business and homeowners is that the price of gas continues to rise at a dramatic rate. Alongside the environmental impact, it is cheaper to run a heat pump than it is a gas boiler, and although the up-front costs are greater, over the period of a few years it is much more cost-effective to run a heat pump than it is a boiler, especially if you use other renewable energy sources alongside it, such as solar power.
What about carbon footprint?
If you are worried about the carbon footprint of your company, switching to a heat pump of any kind is a no brainer. Modern gas boilers are much more eco-friendly than previous versions, but when compared directly with heat pumps you can see the difference. The heat pump burns no fossil fuels and is a zero-carbon heating appliance. It is a much better choice for helping the environment than installing a gas boiler.
Are gas boilers being phased out before 2025?
There are proposed plans to ban new gas boilers from being installed in all new-build properties from 2025 on. On top of this, there is a further proposal to ban new gas boilers from being installed in any domestic properties from 2035 on. The average gas boiler has a lifespan of around 10-15 years, so it will still make sense for you to install a new boiler now before any proposed ban comes into play if you decide on a gas boiler instead of a heat pump. There is also the possibility that before the ban, hydrogen-ready boilers will replace the gas boilers of today.
Are heat pumps the future?
You can see the benefits we’ve mentioned here for installing heat pumps to replace boilers, especially when it comes to commercial heat pumps. However, that is the case because at this moment in time they are the only reliable, efficient alternative to gas boilers on the market today. In the future, there will be a mixture of low carbon heating technologies to choose from, but for the foreseeable future heat pumps are the way to go.
There is a big difference in the technology between a heat pump and a gas boiler. If you have been looking into commercial heat pumps as an alternative to heating your work premises in the future, you are looking in the right direction. They provide a cost-effective, low carbon solution for providing hot water, cooling and heating systems for businesses that significantly reduce both your costs and your carbon footprint. As you can see, there are benefits to both heat pumps and gas boilers, but we would certainly recommend commercial heat pumps for business owners.