Heating and cooling accounts for some 40% of Germany’s total fi nal energy consumption, with space heating and hot water responsible for over 80% of the energy consumed in households. This makes it imperative to cover heating demand – and, increasingly, cooling demand – as efficiently and sustainably as possible. Heat pump technology has a key role to play in meeting these requirements.
The biggest advantage of heat pumps is that the heat (and cooling) supplied is predominantly drawn from ambient energy from the air, ground or ground water. The remaining energy is usually provided as electrical energy, ideally from renewable sources, although in special cases natural gas can also be used. The less electrical energy or fossil fuels a heat pump requires to produce heating or cooling, the more effi cient it will be. Heat pump technology is an important element of sector coupling, a principle which is indispensable for the success of the energy transition.
In Germany, heat pumps are mainly found in newly built single-family houses, while there is still a great deal of untapped potential in retrofi ts of existing buildings – both single-family and multi-family dwellings. Despite the steady growth of the heat pump market, there are still a number of research and development tasks to address.