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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2021
     
    Keen to explore what is meant by low carbon, I came across this paper on the carbon footprint of a heat pump. Not found a proper definition of low carbon yet. How low is low? What would be an acceptable C footprint for an individual going forward.

    ► Refrigerant emissions add 20% to a UK air-source heat pump's carbon footprint. ► This contribution is so far ignored by regulations. ► UK heat pump footprints are comparable to those of gaseous fuels.

    It is an an abstract from here.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421510008906

    To read the full paper you need to pay to see or be a member of an institution. (Presumably an academic one)
  1.  
    That paper was from ten years ago, when heat pumps used R410A refrigerant. If released, it has a high GWP so is now being phased out in favour of more modern refrigerants, which have lower GWP and also use less refrigerant and allow for better CoP. Obviously the idea is that the system is sealed so the refrigerant never gets released, but still...

    The carbon intensity of electricity in Scotland is now practically nil, and will be across GB within the lifetime of a new heatpump. So, the lifecycle emissions from using a heat pump are now far lower than they used to be, back when that paper was written, and much lower than burning "gaseous fuels".

    Paradoxically, as the carbon intensity of the electricity disappears, the main lifecycle impact becomes the manufacturing and embodied emissions. These are lower for an electric fan heater than for a heat pump....!

    Edit: it's fair to acknowledge that GWP is itself basically a lifecycle assessment and so you can get a different answer depending what 'lifecycle' you consider and how much of the production supply chain you include . HFCs have a big greenhouse effect but decay away quickly. CO2 is less bad but lasts for 10,000+ years.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: revorIt is an an abstract from here.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421510008906

    To read the full paper you need to pay to see or be a member of an institution. (Presumably an academic one)

    Note that the paper is discussing HFC heat pumps, so you can do better by choosing a heat pump with a refrigerant with lower GHG potential. CO2-based heat pumps, for example.

    The paper is also on researchgate, so it's possible to request a copy directly from the author, which I have done.
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