A NEW £4m system designed and built in Northern Ireland could revolutionise the way we heat our homes and water.
The A Class, manufactured by Newry firm Glen Dimplex, extracts heat from the air — even in sub-zero temperatures — and converts it into heating for space and water.
The company says that the system can be retro-fitted to homes as well as installed into new builds, and in the case of a four-bedroom family home, could offer £1,000-a-year in savings.
In energy and carbon-saving terms, the firm claims that replacing a gas boiler system with the air source heat pump is the equivalent of taking a car off the road, while replacing an oil boiler is the equivalent of taking two cars off the road.
The system, which was developed over three years, also dovetails with the Government’s renewable energy targets, which include 10% of homes — around 80,000 — being heated by renewable energy by 2020.
Subject to consultation, air source heat pumps will be included in the Northern Ireland ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’ from spring next year.
The ‘RHI’ rewards heat pump owners with grant support and a cash payment for every unit of renewable heat produced, further increasing the savings against oil and gas heating systems and reducing energy bills.
The A Class is already being tested in Belgium and in agricultural areas of Japan which were devastated by the tsunami and the subsequent leaks from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Manufacturing is taking place in the Glen Dimplex plants in Newry and Portadown, with hopes of an additional 55 jobs between the two factories over the next three years.
The plant in Newry is set to manufacture a minimum of 2000 units of the A Class in 2014.
The new product was launched by TV presenter, sustainability expert and Co Antrim native Dick Strawbridge.
“The future is in sustainability and the future is in renewables,” he said.
“Back years ago, going green was seen as a joke, but there are no people with hemp underwear and socks and sandals in this room, there are engineers and executives.
“These days, everyone is going greener, it’s not about being a tree-hugging hippy.
“This isn’t just about saving the planet, it’s about saving money. Too many people are saving to spend when we need to be spending to save.
“Communicating the message about sustainability isn’t sexy, but start to tell people how they can save money and they start to take notice.
“Glen Dimplex is a global company making global products but people are benefiting here in Northern Ireland.
“It’s a brilliant business model. They are spending and investing, they are making a profit and they are helping the rest of us cut our energy bills.”
Glen Dimplex in Northern Ireland consists of:
- Glen Dimplex Northern Ireland, Craigavon — one of the largest distributors of electrical appliances in Northern Ireland.
- Glen Dimplex Manufacturing, Portadown — manufactures electric storage heaters, commercial heaters, stainless steel water storage cylinders and the recently launched Quantum System.
- R&D laboratories for electric heating, thermal energy storage, solar technologies and integrated renewable solutions.
- Glen Dimplex Manufacturing, Newry — manufactures panel and convector heaters and heat pumps including its revolutionary new A Class air source heat pump.
- The Northern Ireland operations collectively employ approximately 500 people.