Sizing a Heat Pump

In one of my earlier blogs, I described to you how a heat pump works. Now I am going to tell you about how it looks from the installer’s side when putting in a correctly sized heat pump.

A heat pump, whether its ground source or air source must be sized correctly. If its too big, it will not work efficiently because it will produce more heat than required. If its too small, it will not provide sufficient heat for the home and you’ll feel chilly.

Let’s take a step back. To ‘size’ means to calculate the required power output from the heat pump. For a small home this might be 5kW and for larger homes, say, 14kW. This means that the heat pump will output 14kW of power when working at capacity. At other times, it will be lower as need decreases.

It is therefore really important to know what the energy needs of the home are. This requires very careful calculation. This requires the height, width and length of each room; the room’s situation i.e. number of internal/external walls, ground floor/first floor; the floor, ceiling and wall building materials; number of windows and their construction (double-glazed, argon filled).

Using this data, the room ‘u-value’ is worked out. This is basically the rate at which the room loses energy. In a stone walled room with a timber floor and no insulation, the u-value will be high. On a brick and breeze block construction packed with insulation, the u-value will be low.

This process is repeated until the whole house is accounted for. All of this is put together and the size of the heat pump worked out.

So you can see that for this kind of installation, even quoting for a job takes time and great care. As an installer, getting it wrong is a total nightmare and to be avoided at all costs. It has not happened yet, and you can be assured that BEC will maintain our high calculation and installation standards to ensure it never does.

For a very handy working example of a heat pump calculator, follow this link:

Why not have a go using the data from your own property?

Trade shows

A couple of weeks ago, in a brave bid to stir up some business, BEC made its first foray into the world of exhibiting at a trade show. You have probably seen this kind of thing, but if you haven’t, here’s the deal:

There is an event that is likely to draw a crowd.

You reckon that some of that crowd would be interested in what you’re selling.

The people running the event also realise this and charge you a hefty fee to flog your wares.

You reluctantly pay the fee and hope that the exposure you get makes it worth it.

So the Gardening Scotland Show 2012 took place a couple of weeks ago in Ingliston by Edinburgh Airport. Encouraged by my green-fingered wife, I got a trade show stand and had a presence there. It basically involved me standing in front of my stand, trying to catch people’s eye as they walked past (trying to avoid my eye!).

It was a reasonably successful entry to the trade show world. It seems to stand to reason that people who are interested in flowers and gardens might be interested in renewable energy and its true that plenty were.

I got to quote 8 jobs off the back of the show. That was fine, but the problem was that there were two other renewable energy installers who were displaying as well. So I am pretty sure that the 8 people got quotes off all three of us! I have to say that I have only got one order of the 8 so far which I am a little disappointed with. Hopefully though, the long-term benefit will be good. I handed out loads of leaflets and its possible that some may come back to me in months or even years to come.

Next up is the Ayr Flower Show in early August

If you are going, please stop by and say hello!

I’ll look a little bit like this:


Solar pv-ready to go commercial

Having been in business for just over a year now, we have installed a good number of renewable energy systems. All of them, however have been domestic installations. As you know, solar pv has been a very lucrative investment for homes over the last year or so and BEC has definitely benefited from that. However, the time has come to take BEC beyond the domestic scale and into commercial.

The Feed-in-Tariff has done a great job at allowing solar pv to break into the mainstream market. Prices have fallen and our hope is that domestic installations will continue at a steady pace as people look to invest in their own electricity supply.

However, it is in the commercial/industrial market that solar pv will really be taking off. The falling prices of equipment mean that it is a very achievable target for a business with a reasonable sized building to achieve self-sufficiency in their electricity supply.

If you are responsible for a business premises, particularly one that is in use during the day and uses a lot of electricity, then this will be a huge cost saver for you. Please do get in touch to arrange a quote and see how much you could save.

We will be undergoing training to allow us to install commercial size photovoltaic arrays in the next month or so and very much looking to break into the commercial sector.¬†It goes without saying that BEC’s usual high standard of workmanship will not change, just the size of our installations.

Watch this space for news of our first commercial installations and if you are interested, then get in touch!