The heat pump sector has seen a significant boom which has continued for several years now. The introduction of these systems based on heat exchange provides several benefits: the most important being their reduced environmental impact and considerable energy savings.
2020 is the fourth consecutive year in which the market has recorded a double figure increase in sales. The data also confirms that, in 2019 alone, approximately 1.26 million units were installed across Europe, establishing a record for this type of equipment.
Factors contributing to the success of heat pumps
All recent data (based on an average lifespan of a heat pump unit of about twenty years) confirms that heat pumps are part of a sector in rapid expansion. It is estimated that in Europe, 11.8 million units have been installed in a total of 44 million residential buildings.
This success is mainly due to three trends:
- The technology is constantly evolving, thereby enabling the heat pumps to operate at an increasingly wide range of temperature (the latest units can operate at temperatures as low as -25° Celsius, while providing water at temperatures of up to 65° Celsius). This increase brings the opportunity to install these units in a greater number of buildings;
- The continuing search for low environmental impact alternatives, which favours the choice of heating systems using heat pumps. This requirement is closely linked to the European policy regulations, which limit heat requirements per square metre and promote the integration of renewable energies;
- The increase in sales has contributed towards a reduction in production costs, making prices more accessible. Hybrid solutions are becoming more and more common, in which autonomously-generated electricity (for example from a solar power unit) is used for low-cost heating via heat pumps.
Another future trend could be linked to the supply of services in response to increasing demand. This would no doubt lead to the emergence of a new form of business and the creation of a significant new source of income for suppliers of heat exchange units.
European market figures are remarkable
The boom in sales of heat pumps, especially in the last two years, demonstrates how this kind of equipment has expanded into the market. It is interesting to note however, that 88% of total sales are concentrated in just ten European Union countries.
The top five countries for sales are led by France (with 275,114 units sold and an increase of 12.3%), followed by Italy (200,433 units sold and an increase of 12.1%), Spain (119,928 units sold and an increase of 12.3%), Sweden 107,834 units sold and an increase of 3.4%) and Germany (99.100 units sold and an increase of 8.2%).
The next countries on the list include the Scandinavian nations, who have made significant inroads into the heat pump market, thanks also to residential property investment and technology contributions in the property redevelopment sector. Norway leads with 25,761 units, followed by Denmark with 5,882 units and Finland with 2,021 units.
If these figures continue to increase constantly until 2030, total European demand for energy should fall considerably. Although this possibility should not be excluded, it should nevertheless be noted that such a prediction is over-optimistic, as it would require annual growth of at least 21%.
There are also other issues such as the compliance of buildings with energy requirements, better training required for fitters (as well as architects and planners) and of course the development of improved assistance procedures for more effective client support.
As already mentioned, the journey towards decarbonisation set out in the various treaties and plans for the protection of the environment (such as the National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate – PNIEC) is still long and full of obstacles, but it seems to be heading in the right direction.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith