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New Code of Practice aims to boost uptake of heat pumps

CIBSE (the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) has unveiled a new Code of Practice for surface water source heat pumps which aims to help the UK meet targets to cut carbon emissions.

CIBSE (the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) has unveiled a new Code of Practice for surface water source heat pumps which aims to help the UK meet targets to cut carbon emissions.

Produced in association with the Heat Pump Association (HPA) and the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA), the new publication is the first Code of Practice relating to surface water source heat pumps. It is designed to raise industry standards and promote the use of the technology in UK buildings, which has historically suffered by being less well known than ground and air source alternatives.

The Code was launched on 20 April at an event sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric and Kilfrost at Kingston Heights in London. Kingston Heights is a flagship project which heats a hotel and residential development using thermal energy from the River Thames.

Surface water source heat pumps (SWSHP) have been identified by the Government as a key part of its strategy to cut the amount of energy consumed by the UK by 80% by the year 2050. Heating accounts for a large proportion of the energy used by buildings, which represent 45% of the UK’s total carbon emissions and CIBSE says the code is a vital step in establishing this underused technology as a major tool in combating climate change.

Created with support from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the code outlines best practice and the minimum requirements for the whole life of a SWSHP that set objectives which will ensure the best running of the system. It also allows all parties involved in the construction and running of the system to be confident in the supply chain required to run it.

Using the Code, it will be possible to get the most out of a system that can take advantage of the many opportunities afforded by the UK’s water sources – including seas, canals, rivers, lakes and estuaries - to produce affordable and secure heating from a low carbon source.

Aside from the potential to cut carbon emissions, SWSHP technology also has strong economic benefits to its users. As an alternative energy source SWSHPs can mitigate the threat of price rises in the fossil fuels market, they can also attract Government grants and investment as a renewable energy source as well as raise the reputation of users for corporate responsibility by cutting their carbon footprints.

Phil Jones, Chairman of the CIBSE Energy Performance Group, said: “This new Code is exactly what is needed to give developers and investors the confidence to recognise the potential of surface water heat pump technology, ensure that they do what it says on the tin, and give a serious boost to the UK’s carbon emissions aims.

The Code of Practice is available for download/purchase from It is free to CIBSE, HPA and GSHPA members (electronic copy) and at a small cost for non-members or for printed copies.

Training courses to support use of the Code and SWSHPs have been developed by CIBSE and GSHPA and can be booked at There is an introductory course for building owners/developers and energy managers, as well as a more detailed course for designers and feasibility consultants. The courses are designed to be complementary and can be completed as a pair.

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