February 6, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Heat365 – smart and dumb hybrid

“Hey Suus, what do I do now,” my brother asked. He lives in a fairly new houseboat, well insulated, with solar panels and a modest gas bill. Like many, he worries about the future and wants to know what to do. I advised him a hybrid heat pump. I just don’t do that and it’s certainly not in every home. However, last year’s alliance agreement states something very different: “A hybrid heat pump is a good short-term heating solution for most homes.” But is this claim true?

Of the approximately eight million homes in the Netherlands, 2.9 million are apartments. You can actually write that off, because you can’t lose the exterior, and the interior space is also limited. Then there are the homes that will convert to a grid heat or heat pump in the foreseeable future, homes with a D energy label or worse, and cases where spatial integration is not possible.

dumb hybrids
If you have three million homes left for which a hybrid heat pump is a good solution, that’s a lot. Therefore a hybrid heat pump is not a good heating solution for most homes.

However, the coalition wants to install up to 1 million people before 2030. It’s easy to focus on technology rather than the higher goal, lower CO2 emissions, and that’s troubling. There are still many stupid hybrids on the market that are mainly motivated by one thing: maintaining the central heating boiler. Consider hybrid models with older intercoolers.

After 2030, these fixtures could go straight to the trash. Plus, there are countless models that can’t make hot water from the tap, or have very little power at all to put a dent in a can of butter. If a resident invests in this now, there will be no more money for insulation then, and fifteen years later you will have exactly the same problem and not be one step away from being gassed.

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Fortunately, the government is considering good standards for mandatory switching for a more sustainable installation when a central heating boiler fails from 2026. This may be bad news for some heat pump producers and installers, but good news for residents. Thus, they are protected from investments that they will regret later. So I sincerely hope that the market will embrace this standard, set the cap as high as possible for itself, and fill it with as much innovation as possible.

After all, we have a lot of work to do with fixtures that barely contribute to sustainability. Recommend hybrids that are suitable for the home, now and in the future. First of all, go to the places dedicated to green gas in the visions of heat transfer. Find out if a resident is now better off, for example, with a solar powered boiler with a boiler tank. Who knows, by 2026 there will be a wide choice in high temperature heat pumps.

Above all: don’t make a hybrid heat pump a poor excuse to keep installing your central heating boilers for as long as possible. Technology is worth more than that, and so is the population.