Poland: A spectacular growth of the air heat pump market in 2015
The efficiency and reliability of air-source heat pumps increase, which – along with relatively low investment costs – results in a considerable increase of sales. Surely, another important aspect is that winters have been recently mild and a demand for additional heat source (eg. electric heaters) has been minimal. A standard solution have become reversible heat pumps. The survey carried out by the PORT PC shows that the number of air-to-water heat pumps sold in 2015 increased by 70% as compared to 2014. The increase so high may be an indication that this segment of heat pumps emerged from a market niche and entered the path of a quick market growth. However, we should not overlook the fact that although the per-cent increase of sales is high, the number of air heat pumps actually sold was relatively low and amounted to ca 3,916 units in 2015 while the number of such pumps sold in Germany only in 2014 amounted to 39,350. The VRF air to air heat pump market has also significantly grown with the sales of these pumps having grown by almost 30% in 2015. The sales of air-source heat pump water heaters increased only insignificantly (namely, by 3.4%) in 2015, but they still constitute almost 40% of the whole heat pump market in Poland.
The survey did not cover gas heat pumps. According to the manufacturers and distributors of gas heat pumps in Poland, the year-to-year sales of these units have been growing. Noteworthy is that gas-driven air-to-air or air-to-water heat pumps are more and more commonly applied in the sector of middle-size and large buildings, particularly those located in the centres of large cities where a facility cannot be connected to the central municipal heating system due to the shortage of power supplies to new or thermo-modernised facilities and/or buildings. Gas driven heat pumps are used at an increasingly large scale in production/storing facilities located at the outskirts of cities, where the technical infrastructure is underdeveloped and the investor intends to optimize costs of utilities in a longer time-perspective of exploitation. Several investments already completed in various business sectors contribute to the increasing confidence in the technology of gas heat pumps.
According to Pawel Lachman, President of the Polish Association for Heat Pump Technology and Development: “In the next few years we expect that the heat pump market will continue to grow, particularly with respect to air-to-water heat pumps, until the proportion of its sectors’ shares in the market gets identical to that characteristic of the European countries in which air heat pumps are considerably prevailing over the other types of heat pumps. The process is related to changes in Polish and EU legislations with respect to energy saving in buildings and heating technologies. The changes indirectly promote mainly air-source heat pumps applications, particularly in small family houses.” It was in September 2015 that the labelling of gas, electric and oil heating devices was made mandatory. The regulation will soon vitally increase consumer awareness of the energy efficiency of units a consumer intends to elect. Modern heat pumps have reached the highest energy efficiency classes (A++, A+++) of all heating systems and the technology development reveals further efficiency increase. While the systems of mechanic ventilation with heat recovery installations are getting more common, and requirements as to the thermal penetration coefficient of walls and partitions are getting more stringent, the thermal energy demand of constructions decreases and – subsequently – air-source heat pumps appear as more and more attractive solution.
New requirements related to “Technical Conditions for buildings and their location” (WT2017) will enter into force exactly in a year’s time. The change of regulations related to the energy-saving characteristics of new buildings and still higher energy-saving standards required of heating systems may be directly translated into the election of highly-efficient heating units. Heat pumps perfectly correspond to climate and energy-saving policies of the EU and the present energy policy. Heat pumps also increase the energy security of the country as they ensure the use of energy generated solely in Poland. Almost 70% of units use renewable energy sources (RES) and their common application may help to reduce low emission of pollutants. It is estimated that there are 4 mln coal boilers installed in family houses in Poland. Heat pumps could successively replace such boilers. Electricity-powered heat pumps do not generate any air pollution on sites where they are used, and low emission originates only from the generation of electric power eventually consumed by heat pumps.