Heat PumpsHeat pumps transfer heat energy originating from the sun that has been stored in the ground, air or water into buildings to heat indoor space or the hot water supply. Heat pumps work in a similar way to refrigerators, which transfer the heat from foodstuffs to the external air, but they bring heat into a building rather than removing it.
Heat pump heating systems involving the transfer of external heat energy into circulated hot water are economical and durable. When such systems are fitted, it is also possible to apply a system that cools the warm air entering a building during the summer. Photo: Silja Nykänen, Plugi
The drawback with ground source heat pump systems is their relatively high initial investment costs. For smaller houses (with 110-120 m2 of floor space) and low energy houses, the pay back time on investments may be 10-15 years.
Heat pumps increasingly popular in FinlandThe use of heat pumps in Finland has rapidly increased in recent years. Sales increased 30% in 2008 to a record level of more than 60,000 pumps. Their increasing popularity is largely due to rising energy costs, but the option of using them to cool incoming air in the summertime is also attractive to many householders.
People are also choosing to use heat pumps in response to increasing concern about climate change. Heat pumps can produce as much as 40-66% of the heat energy used by a typical home, using renewable sources of clean energy instead of fossil fuels or electricity. The savings obtainable by using such systems vary according to the heating needs of a building and its characteristics, including the size of the space to be heated, and how well the building is insulated.