Superhomes is a service developed by the Tipperary Energy Agency which supports the residential deep retrofit and helps homeowners to achieve more comfortable, healthier homes with better air quality through sensible and cost-effective energy retrofit measures.
Preliminary research indicates that, based on the deployment of such technology, carbon (CO2) emission savings could be over 4 million tonnes per annum with corresponding health and environmental benefits estimated at €100m per annum.
Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) has worked with the International Energy Research Centre (IERC), hosted in Tyndall National Institute, along with ESB Group and Tipperary Energy Agency (TEA) to deliver the Superhomes 2.0 project that focused on optimising air source heat pump applications in near zero energy building residential retrofits. Heat pumps provide a clean, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective alternative to oil- and solid fuel-based heating systems in Irish homes.
Head of Development & Public Engagement with LIT, Seamus Hoyne, said: “Given the significant energy efficiency challenges that our housing stock presents, this project makes a significant contribution to strengthening of the industry knowledge base to ensure optimum techno-economic installation of air source heat pumps in residential building retrofits. With ambitious national targets for heat pump deployment, it will be critical to that such systems are installed and used correctly so that we can safely and securely electrify our heating systems in Ireland.”
Focusing on the key stages in the design process for a heat pump heating system, the LIT team have now prepared the Superhomes 2.0 Best Practice Guide for ASHP retrofit. The guide highlights the importance of the correct sizing of heat pumps, correct design of low temperature emission and of the distribution system. It also highlights the requirement to revisit system commissioning at least once after the system has commenced operation to fine-tune, document and communicate site-specific operating parameters to the homeowner.
In addition to the best practice guide, Superhomes 2.0 trialled a ‘Time of Use’ tariff where the ESB installed meters that could attribute a different tariff to each hour of the day. The trial encouraged heat pump use during periods of low demand on the national grid, day or night, while making it less favourable during the morning and evening peak periods.
In all cases, homeowners modified the operating schedules of their systems thereby availing of the financial reward for switching operation to periods of lower grid demand.
The residential sector in Ireland accounts for approximately 25% of primary energy demand with roughly half of primary home heating fuelled by oil and 11% by solid fuels. Displacing oil and solid fuel usage with air source heat pump technology could offer household cost savings, reductions in emissions, and reduced health impacts.