In this environmentally friendly world that we all live in certain steps have to be taken to ensure that there is still a world for people to inhabit in the future. People all over the world are looking at ways to help save energy and the world's resources. Household heating is a major consumer of energy so whatever can be developed to reduce the effect on the environment has got to be a step in the right direction.

By extracting heat from the ground or air (geothermal energy) and then compressing it to raise the temperature significantly, the heat generated can then be used for water or space heating.

Since there is quite a lot of heat energy in even very cold materials, heat pumps can use sources that appear to be very unpromising. For example, if the temperature of the air is 5°C, that might appear to be too cold to extract any heat. In reality 5°C is pretty hot compared to absolute zero (-273°C) and therefore an air source heat pump can produce useable heat all year round. Think of your deep freeze. Heat continues to be Wärmepumpe Altbau extracted from that area even though it's well below freezing.

Heat pumps can use air, water and, increasingly commonly, the ground below your feet as a source of energy. Ground water is a particularly useful source of heat since it rarely gets much colder than 7°C.

Unlike more conventional heating or air conditioning, heat pumps minimise pollution and fuel use. By utilizing entirely free and renewable geothermal sources of energy they are very low carbon and very economic to run. During hotter summer months the latest models can even be run in reverse to passively extract heat from inside a home and 'dump it' into the ground. This method of cooling is one of the lowest carbon and lowest energy approaches available.

Unit of electrical power needed to extract

For every unit of electrical power needed to extract the heat, up to six units of heat can be obtained. That's right, heat pumps can be up to 600 per cent efficient. It's like buying a low-energy light bulb with an output rating of I00 watts but with an energy usage of only 20 watts. Remember, we spend very little on electricity for light bulbs in our homes compared to running our heating and hot water systems - so the savings are much greater.

The attraction of running a heating system this efficiently is obvious. It saves money and makes a real contribution towards a low or even zero carbon building and towards reducing the devastating impact of climate change. It's worth recalling how, by 2016, every new home in the UK will need to be rated 'zero carbon'. Given that the law in this area is getting tougher all the time and the 2016 date is now fixed, new business opportunities are growing rapidly.

More and more heat pumps will be installed in the coming years which can only be good news for the environment. Pioneering companies have already gotten to grips with issues around the ground works required and enterprising trades people are discovering how they can become part of the future of our industry.

The next generation of heat pump technology that is even easier to install, and operate further reduces running costs and improves the already impressive efficiency which will make the models of the future even more appealing to the mass market. These will offer air, water and ground source heat pumps to suit all household heating needs, helping to reduce the cost of heating water for your bath as well as heating the whole house during the colder months. In addition to being powerful systems in their own right the heat pumps of the future even come ready to connect to a solar heating system, complete with flat-panel collector array and solar cylinder, providing an integration of solar energy and heat pump for domestic hot water and central heating.

Heat pumps will make a huge difference to the way we heat our homes as well as making a big difference, for the better on the environment.