Away with Gas, Welcome Heat Pumps. Which one is the Best?

One subject that cannot be ignored these days is the debate concerning the shift from traditional fuel-based heating solutions to alternative and more environmentally safe methods such as boilers and heat pumps. This discussion fits in the larger context of the global concern to reduce energy consumption and utilize forms of renewable energy. As such, the Paris Agreement stands proof for the collective initiative undertaken by a lot of nations to set things in motion and essentially do everything in their power to prevent the global temperatures this century from rising with more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In the Netherlands for instance, this translates to a 95% reduction of CO2 by the year 2050. Quite an ambitious target.

What is your role as an MEP engineer or contractor in this?

As an MEP professional, you situate yourself at the foundation of this discussion and, together with other stakeholders such as project owners and architects, you represent the steering wheel that has the power to influence the project one way or the other.

When deciding about the energy source to be used for space heating and hot water systems, you usually have to take into account a number of factors such as the efficiency of the source, the environmental friendliness of the fuel, the installation and maintenance costs and the overall comfort they provide. How do you fill in your checklist? Read on and you’ll get the information you need to take a responsible decision.


COP - Coefficient of Performance

A genuine indicator of efficiency is the coefficient of performance (COP) that represents the ratio between the amount of heat or cooling produced and the amount of energy and resources required to generate that result. In the case of a gas heating system, every 1kW of gas energy burnt will result in 0.85kW of heat, which represents a COP of 0.85.

Heat pumps are essentially different since they don’t use only one resource or fuel as input. Heat pumps use electricity to transfer energy from heat sources recovered from the outdoor environment. So for every 1kW of electricity put in, the heat pump will produce up to 4kW of heat, which means a COP of 4. When calculating the COP, bear in mind that it is dependent on several conditions such as the size of the building, the insulation and temperature variations. In the case of lower outside temperatures, a heat pump will output less heat due to the fact that it simply takes less heat from outside.

Running costs

It is common amongst home and large project owners to think that the initial investment in a heat pump is not justified since it can be more expensive than a gas-fueled system. While this can be true in some cases (see “Installation and maintenance costs” section below), one needs to look at the long-term costs in order to correctly appreciate the efficiency of a heat pump. When taking into account the number of months and the average amount of hours per day that the heat pump is working, we will see that using heat pumps is indeed much cheaper on long-term than traditional gas heating systems. Use this handy running costs calculator to check your specific situation.

Installation and maintenance costs

2 in 1 system

Unlike a traditional heating method such as a gas furnace, a heat pump doesn’t have to generate heat itself. Instead, it uses electricity to transfer heat that already exists from one area to another. Heat pumps perform a double job: in summer they keep the temperatures cooler inside and in winter they deliver more heat. For homeowners, this means that they don’t have to install two systems – a furnace and an air conditioner – because a heat pump will do the job of both. Consequently, the costs of installation, maintenance, repair or replacing are reduced to nearly half. With regard to maintenance the following. Most units consist of two parts. For a heat pump based on external air input the outdoor unit will be more difficult to maintain than an indoor unit.


For a heat pump investment is needed compared to a mainstream central heating solution.
You can think of connecting the gas pipes from the control cabinet and an exhaust gas hose for the boiler. In the long run these will have to deliver a certain payback and return on investment based on the estimated consumption and potential savings.



Traditional fuel based heating systems can pose serious dangers for several reasons. First, they display hot surfaces or flames within the easy reach for children or adults which can result in domestic injuries. Second, they pose the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can result in death. Heat pumps eliminate these risks and make for safer and more environmentally friendly heating methods.

Extended features

Heat pumps also present a number of modern advantages such as dehumidifying, air filtration, the even distribution of warm air around the house, remote wi-fi control, hour scheduling and temperature control, features that add value to the overall customer experience.

What is your responsibility?

Now is your time to act. You have the possibility to majorly contribute to the reduction of pollution around the world while delivering better, more sustainable and more convenient methods of heating. Take a look at the MEPcontent library of Revit families and AutoCAD files for heat pumps and download the ones you will use in your projects. Which one is the best? That is up to you to decide, depending on the project demands and your preferences. You can choose manufacturer specific content from Mitsubishi Electric, Nibe, Hisense, Fujitsu, Saunier Duval, Buderus, Viessmann and several other manufacturers. View the library now and select your favourite!