The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) looks set to increase the use of low energy heat sources such as heat pumps, solar thermal, etc. And as renewable sources currently only account for around 1% of the UK’s heat demand this is clearly a welcome development.

However, it’s very important that manufacturers of heating equipment adapt their equipment to optimise the performance of these heat sources. Otherwise some of the energy saving benefits achieved by using a low energy source could be wasted through poor use of that heat in buildings.

Heat pumps are a case in point as they tend to generate hot water at a lower temperature than would be the case with boilers. This means that the terminal units – radiators, fan coils, air curtains, convectors etc. – need to be engineered for these lower temperature heat sources.

Envirotec, for example, has developed special air curtains for use with heat pumps that provide more efficient heat exchange to make the best use of the heat from the water (see www.envirotec.co.uk/products/ac-heatpump.html) . This is an important development because of the importance of air curtains in preventing cold air entering entrances that open and close frequently.

Further information about the RHI can be found at www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/rhi/rhi.aspx