Heat Pumps Explained - The Electrification of Heating

“Building electrification” is a buzzword that has been gaining momentum in the industry, marking a shift from fossil fuel consuming technologies to cleaner, renewable energy sources to power buildings. Most buildings use multiple fuel types, electricity to power lights, domestic appliances and things like the Internet, and gas for stoves, furnaces, and boilers.

The ultimate goal of building electrification is to move from fossil fuels to electricity provided by solar, wind and other sources. One technology that is leading the charge is the heat pump, a technology which drastically reduces the energy consumed for heating and / or domestic hot water.


What is a Heat Pump?

In simple terms, a heat pump uses the available heat from the ground or air to generate the energy needed for heating, cooling and domestic hot water. It is a versatile technology that can be used in all sorts of buildings, like homes and businesses.


diagram of how heat pump works


Heat pumps need electricity to operate, however, because they are harnessing heat energy from a renewable source, the heat output is greater than the electricity it consumes. This is one of the reasons it has become a key technology in the electrification of buildings, especially throughout Europe and the UK.

As briefly mentioned, there are ground source and air source heat pumps. In this article we are discussing air source heat pumps, of which there are two main types to select from:



Much like air conditioning systems, provide heating and cooling, and require an indoor unit to blow the air out into the desired space.



Which uses the heat extracted from the outside air to produce hot water for heating systems like radiators and underfloor heating. Air-to-water heat pumps can also be used for cooling as well as produce domestic hot water.

It is the latter that we focus on today, air source air-to-water heat pumps.


Hitachi Yutaki M R32 unit shape and size


The Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps

We’ve hinted at air-to-water heat pumps being one of the greenest options for heating but, what exactly are the advantages?

Heat Pump Pros

  • Lower operational costs, saving you money when compared to other heating systems
  • Greatly reduces your carbon footprint
  • Can provide heating, cooling and, depending on the system, domestic hot water
  • Less maintenance, providing the owner with reliable performance all year round
  • A safer way to heat the home compared to combustion-based systems
  • In the United States, high efficiency heat pumps may qualify for savings thanks to programs like the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act

But of course, there are also the “cons” to consider when thinking about installing an air-to-water heat pump:


Heat Pump Cons

  • Heat pumps has a high upfront cost when compared to standard residential air conditioners
  • They can be difficult to install, especially if installing underfloor heating
  • For some buildings, planning permission is required

As the world takes steps to becoming greener and looks to embrace cleaner, renewable energy in as many aspects of our day-to-day lives as possible, it offers technology like this that creates a positive common goal between the company and customer. The series of Hitachi Yutaki R32 air-to-water heat pumps aims to do just this.


Size of Hitachi Yutaki S R32 unit indoors



by Hitachi