The importance of the heat pump in the decarbonisation of buildings.

HAPPENING, in collaboration with Green Building Council España, ANESE and Tecnalia, has organised the event ‘Decarbonisation of existing multi-family buildings’, an event in which the most important points of the current situation of decarbonisation in the building stock of multi-family buildings have been addressed, with the heat pump as a central pillar.

Full video here:


Overview of the current residential heat pump market

Marta San Román, from AFEC, was responsible for opening the conference with her ‘Vision of the current market for residential heat pumps’.

We are in a very dynamic, convulsive context. We are prepared to adapt more and more. During the pandemic, this HVAC sector had to serve essential sectors such as hospitals, transport, which was still basic, and we have to continue with that. We are in the middle of decarbonisation policies and there are three objectives that we have been talking about for a long time. It is not new.

Reducing energy consumption, increasing the use of renewables and reducing carbon emissions. There is one new variable that is new. After the pandemic, there are more European funds that should help us in this recovery. The funds are called Next Generation, new generation. It does not speak of a new generation of people, rather than recovery we should speak of generation, of generating new models.

What is happening in Europe? There is talk of renewables, of national plans such as the integrated national energy and climate plan, of energy efficiency, of eco-design. Climate equipment manufacturers have continuously changing and increasingly aggressive and demanding requirements to improve equipment in terms of eco-design. Eco-design is not just about energy efficiency, it is about the carbon footprint from cradle to grave. That is, from the time it starts to be generated, including R&D costs, until it is waste and has to be disposed of responsibly.

We are talking about taxonomy, which is a regulation for the proper use of European funding, through which we must ensure that this funding goes to projects that are not going to damage the environment. And there are also rules that appear in it and we talk about an acronym, HVAC, heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration. It is a transformation against climate change because too many resources are invested, sometimes inefficient, and we have been transforming for many years and it is going to get bigger and faster and it is a complex environment.

Another acronym, VUCA. It stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This is the environment in which we are moving, price volatility, supply risks, transport problems, energy cost prices that we don’t know what they will be tomorrow. We have to move in all of this, and we are also very diverse agents.

We all have to coexist with these common objectives of decarbonisation but then with personal, individual and professional objectives that are very diverse and that sometimes are not always aligned. Whatever the case, decarbonisation comes first.

Innovative cascade HP system for multi-family dwellings

Jon Iturralde (Tecnalia)
The HAPPENING concept combines the benefits of central and individual systems:

      • Thanks to the decoupling between generation and consumption, given by the 2 levels of heat generation with intermediate storage, intelligent controls will be able to optimise the COP of the central HP and maximise the consumption of locally generated energy (photovoltaic), e.g. by storing hot water in the central hours of the day,
      • Drastic reduction of heat losses due to low temperature distribution.
      • The COP of the individual heat pumps will be very high and constant, thanks to the tempered water ring,
      • Versatility, each house can choose the configuration that best suits its needs and interests.
      • Scalability, demonstrated thanks to the 3 pilots of the project, different in size, climate and regulation.

You can read the full article by Alejandro Rodriguez here.