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Sound, safety and thermal performance for UK incentive schemes July 2011

By Tom Garrigan, BSRIA's senior test engineer and specialist in heat pump technology

Tom Garrigan, Test House Manager

Many European countries have set up different certification and incentive schemes for heat pumps in order to encouraging the purchase of higher efficiency products and enable the end users to reap the true benefits of the growing technology. The incentive schemes only support the products that have achieved a certain performance standard so to provide confidence to users that they are choosing a good quality product.

In the UK, there are two main schemes: the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), and the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme. Although the criteria for COP differ between the schemes, they only accepted the products tested to EN 14511. This offers consumers further confidence in independently-assessed products.

The MCS, supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, focuses on product and installer certification, with grants available to applicants who meet the required criteria. Grants of up to £2500 per property are available to households, community organisations, public, private and not for profit sectors. Heat pumps with a capacity of up to 45 kW are accepted, however each technology has a minimum COP requirement.

In addition to thermal performance tests, safety tests must be conducted in accordance with EN 14511. Sound characteristic tests in accordance with ENV 12102 are also a requirement. This scheme also requires a factory production control visit to further ensure the consistent quality of the accepted products.

Ecotec heat pumps under testing to EN 14511 at BSRIA

When applying for the ECA scheme, managed by the Carbon Trust on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, a manufacturer can self-declare the COP of their unit at the prescribed EN 14511 test conditions. Provided the declared values meet the minimum performance criteria for each technology, the heat pump will be added to the Energy Technology Product List (ETPL).

However, the ETPL is audited annually, and a selection of units from each technology and multiple manufacturers are chosen to be tested by an independent UKAS accredited test laboratory. When the units are tested independently, the manufacturer declared values must be at least 95 per cent of the independent test results in order to remain on the ETPL. Companies buying listed products can claim an enhanced capital allowance which is a tax benefit against the purchase cost of the heat pump and other direct costs such as delivery cost, installation and professional fees. This tax benefit is only available to companies that pay UK Corporation Tax.

Tom Garrigan, BSRIA's senior test engineer and specialist in heat pump technology, says: "BSRIA's accredited testing facility plays an important role in the field of increasing the quality of the heat pump technology. Beside standard tests for the UK and other European schemes, BSRIA provides manufactures with the opportunity to use our expertise and test rig also for product development."

For more information contact BSRIA Test & Certification:

Phone: +44 (0)1344 465600