Infrared heating over heat pumps?

A new study claims infrared heating is more cost-effective and energy efficient than heat pumps – and could be the answer to net zero

Infrared heating is one of the most energy efficient and cost-effective heating systems available.

That’s according to a report from EnTRESS, within the University of Wolverhampton, revealing that over time infrared will be cheaper than air-source heat pumps and can heat a room in under 10 minutes.

This is also more efficient and quicker than heat pumps, as they have a lower output compared with both gas boilers and infrared.

The report claims the government should consider infrared just as much as heat pumps in his net zero strategy, as it’s a useful alternative for properties that cannot afford heat pumps or logistically have them installed.

According to the researchers, this form of heating can also reduce reliance on the grid, with direct integration of renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic (PV) to homes.

It reportedly takes up to one week for air-source heat pumps to be retrofitted to two-bedroom properties, with the study stating this is as short as one day for infrared.

The report estimates the overall cost of infrared to be under £50,000 for a 20-year lifespan, including installation, maintenance and operating costs. It predicts this number to be as high as £66,000 for heat pumps for a 10-year lifespan, including the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) on its installation.

Dr Vinh Doan from EnTRESS said: “Infrared heating technology offers energy-efficient electric heating, with numerous benefits including low upfront installation cost without the need of a ‘wet’ heating system, low maintenance and great flexibility for both newly built and retrofitted homes.”

Reflecting on the findings of the report, Glenn Billington, CEO of Solutions by Jigsaw, said: “This study has clearly shown the quality of Jigsaw’s infrared heating, providing consumers with efficient, sustainable and cheaper methods of heating.

“Enhanced by the inclusion of smart controls within a home heating system, users can heat only the rooms in use quickly and efficiently, rather than heat a whole house including its empty rooms.

“Furthermore, if using PV to power IR heating panels, homeowners can produce a self-reliant system helping to keep down bills while looking after the environment.

“Compared to heat pumps, infrared can offer sizeable cost savings for consumers over the lifetime of use, making them a much more attractive option.

“Such a saving could prove influential as the government seeks to encourage consumers to switch to cheaper and more sustainable heating systems. With that in mind, it is not too late for the government to broaden its approach to include cheaper and more efficient alternative technologies to create the best possible chance of meeting its own targets.”