Many different institutions in Europe are active towards a common goal – known as the "20-20-20" targets, set by the EU Heads of State and Government.
- A reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20% below 1990 levels
- 20% of EU energy consumption to come from renewable resources
- A 20% reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels, to be achieved by improving energy efficiency
In the European Directive on Electricity Production from Renewable Energy Sources
the heat pump has clearly identified as supportive and approved technology.
The most relevant associations in the heat pump community are the EHPA and its work with national associations and the IEA heat pump centre with their international information service for heat pumping technologies, applications and markets.
Different countries provide different frameworks (MAP in Germany , tax credits in France) to help end-customers evaluate renewable energy solutions for heating. For heat pumps, many of these frameworks are linked to achieving a specified minimum seasonal efficiency performance.
The seasonal performance as decisive criteria for subsidies must be measured through certified institutes only. Following are the certified test centers for HP certificates under the EHPA Quality Label:
Austria: Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna
Germany: HLK Stuttgart
TÜV Rheinland Immissionsschutz und Energiesysteme GmbH, Cologne
TÜV Süd Industrie Service GmbH, Munich
VDE Prüf- und Zertifizierungsinstitut GmbH, Offenbach
Sweden: SP, Borås
Switzerland: NTB, Buchs
UK: BSRIA, Bracknell
Pending: CETIAT, France | MCQ, Italy | CEIS, Spain
Even though seasonal performance measurement for certification is based on standards (currently EN14511), actual seasonal performance of an installation is influenced by many factors including (but not limited to) local climate , heating demand of the building, water temperature profile, design and installation quality, domestic hot water demand and the behavior of the inhabitants.
The first step is the correct choice and dimensioning of the heat pump. For the heat pump itself - the right selection of components forms the basis for heat pumps that fulfill and exceed the long term expectations of the home owner. The most influential components are, of course, the compressor , the evaporator (and in case of air/water always in connection with the fan), condenser, expansion valves , pumps, thermostats , measuring devices and system controller .
All of these have to be specified during the product design of the heat pump with a view to system impact and their influence on efficiency. Energy losses have to be avoided and only a very careful choice of components will result in long lasting and efficient heat pumps, which will in turn contribute to the reputation of heat pumps as a mature renewable energy technology.
Nothing is worse for the reputation of heat pumps than a product design or dimensioning or an installation that does not meet promised performance, or the minimum performance levels specified in the frameworks discussed above.
For the quality of the installation several installer training schemes are in place - aimed at a European training and quality campaign for installers in the field of heat pump technology.
Last but not least the inhabitants of the building should understand how their behavior influences the performance of the heat pump and thereby the final energy bill they have to pay.