11 Dec 2009 02:12:34
Ecodan ready for worst of a NE winter
04 December 2009
When property developer George Bowlt was looking for a reliable heating system for his converted farm buildings in the beautiful but rugged Northumberland countryside, he looked at all traditional and renewable options before settling on the award-winning Ecodan air source…
When property developer George Bowlt was looking for a reliable heating system for his converted farm buildings in the beautiful but rugged Northumberland countryside, he looked at all traditional and renewable options before settling on the award-winning Ecodan air source heat pump system from Mitsubishi Electric.
Mr Bowlt is developing three stone cottages on the outskirts of Morpeth where there is no gas supply and options were limited to costly oil, LPG or electric heating.
“We looked at solar thermal and other renewables because we wanted something sustainable, but this place can be quite harsh in the winter and we needed something reliable whatever the weather,” he said.
Ecodan extracts latent heat from the outdoor air and works in temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees centigrade. It requires just a small amount of electricity – no oil or gas – and takes renewable energy from the air to deliver three or four times more heating energy than the electricity consumed.
“Installation is simple for a qualified fitter – no Gas Safety Certificate is needed – and with gas prices rising and the threat of future energy shortages it is a perfect solution,” added Mr Bowlt. “Gas prices are only going one way now the UK is no longer a net exporter. There’s also increasing pressure on property developers to cut CO2 and I’m sure taxes will be used more and more to control energy use.”
The cottages are 30 minutes from Newcastle Airport and have stone arch windows and doors, wooden beams, period features, fireplaces, underfloor heating and light tunnels delivering daylight into the heart of the building. The first to market has four bedrooms and picture windows facing an idyllic rural view; it is priced at £425,000 and will be completed before Christmas.
“Ecodan comes as a neatly packaged external box – saving interior space where a boiler would go – and the technology is tried and tested in climates far more severe than ours,” he added. “They cost slightly more up-front but you recoup that on energy savings.”
Basic heat pump technology has been around for some years and is widely used in Scandinavia, but Mitsubishi Electric has developed Ecodan using advanced technology borrowed from the commercial heating industry.
The system, which is manufactured in Scotland, works like a refrigerator in reverse, to cut an average home’s energy costs by 30-50%, connecting to either existing radiators or underfloor heating. Despite the housing slump, Scottish Gas has ordered 1,200 to help combat fuel poverty north of the border. Ecodan was also featured heavily at this year’s Ideal Home exhibition.