Opinion Former Article

NEA: National charity trials new technology for government's Warm Front scheme

Leading fuel poverty charity National Energy Action is at the forefront of the new technology revolution as it embarks on the monitoring of over 200 air source heat pumps as they are trailed for government's Warm Front Scheme.

The trials which are taking place in rural, off gas areas in the North, East and South West regions of England are being delivered in an focused attempt to prove that the new technology is a reliable, cost effective and efficient source of providing heating and hot water for hard-to-treat homes, with the hope of relieving many households from the misery of living in fuel poverty.

NEA first trialed the technology in 2006 when a park home in Peterborough became the first in England to have space heating provided by an air to water heat pump.

At the time of installation park home owner Mr Meja was paying over £40.00 a week for solid fuel and was classified as being in fuel poverty, defined as when a household is required to spend more than ten per cent of its income on total fuel use.

After replacing his coal fired heating system with the heat pump his bills were reduced to less than half that amount, just £14 a week, as well as benefiting from much improved comfort levels and reduced condensation and mould growth.

Designed and manufactured in West Yorkshire by HeatKing, the renewables division of TEV Limited the product was the first air source air to water heat pump designed specifically for British weather.

Recent checks on Mr Mejas' heat pump found it to be working as effectively as when it left the factory 3 years ago and has taken minimal care to maintain its efficiency. This matches claims by the manufacturers of long life (estimated up to 20 years) and low maintenance costs and reinforces NEA's commitment to air source heat pumps as their trial period begins.

The trials are to take place over the current financial year and a final report will be delivered to government in 2010 making a case for the technology to be delivered as part of the scheme.

Arthur Scott, Head of Technical Services at NEA said: "Air Source Heat Pumps are becoming familiar to both clients and installers as a product that can be used to provide cost effective space heating in homes that are not connected to mains gas or for homes that need to reduce their carbon footprint.

"The aim of the ASHP trials is to provide the Department for Energy and Climate Change with a detailed report on the benefits of their use within the home and provide clear a case for them to be included in future Warm Front funding, helping to overcome the problems associated with hard-to-treat homes."

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