HVP Editor Joe Dart speaks to Clivet UK to find out more about its new all-in-one heating, cooling, and hot water system.

For many years in the UK, we have traditionally favoured gas and oil boilers over other heating systems. However, this has started to change more recently thanks to the introduction of heat pumps.

Although heat pumps are a well-established technology in many other countries, especially in Europe, their uptake over here is still relatively low. According to research from BSRIA last year, just 22,000 heat pumps were installed in the UK throughout 2017. But the heat pump market is growing, with an 18% increase in the volume of installs year-on-year.

One company looking to break into the UK’s potentially lucrative residential heat pump market is Clivet. An Italian manufacturer, better known for its air conditioning and chiller product range, is bringing air source heat pump ELFOPack to the UK.

What sets ELFOPack apart from other systems currently available on the market is its wide variety of functions. A single unit can meet the heating, hot water, cooling, dehumidification, controlled mechanical ventilation, and air purification needs of a property. 

Graham Evans, Light Commercial & Residential Heat Pump Business Development Manager for Clivet UK, describes the system as an “all-in-one heating, cooling, domestic hot water system for newbuild homes”. 

One of ELFOPack’s more distinctive features is its ability to provide integrated mechanical ventilation throughout a property when the unit is installed with ducting, such as the ELFOAir distribution system. Heating, cooling, and ‘dehumidification’ for the home is circulated through these air renewal ducts. 

In addition, an integrated electronic filtration system is included to remove harmful toxins from the atmosphere, providing additional piece of mind for homeowners and residents living in locations with poor air quality.

For the system to work to at its best, it must be installed in a low energy building, meaning ELFOPack isn’t suitable for every home, however it is a “natural fit” for city centre projects where air quality is low, according to Graham.

Room to learn

The first installation of ELFOPack in the UK is set to take place this year at Fife College in Scotland, home to a disused ‘eco-house’, which is currently being utilised as a storage space. However, the college plans to revive the premises to its former glory as a sustainable show house.

Interior design students from the college will be involved in decorating the internals of the house, and the building will be fully fitted with furnishings and modern amenities. An ELFOPack unit will also feature as an integral part of the refurbishment works.

Graham believes that the Fife College eco-house will provide Clivet UK with an excellent platform to showcase ELFOPack to the UK market.

“Launching in a college where the students, who would normally look at gas boilers or electric heating, will actually be involved in the installation of the product into the eco-house is a great story, and it’s a great step for the next generation of installers who will be going down using this fully electric route of heating. They’re involved at the [start of the journey], and that’s really exciting,” he said.

Once the project is fully completed in spring 2019, the building will be open to not just students at the college, but also architects, the local council, and community, giving all sorts the opportunity to view the potential future of renewable heating in the UK.

“We know it’s a new concept, it’s a challenging concept in the current UK environment in regards to renewables, but it’s one we strongly believe in,” Graham explained. “But the only way we can build trust and belief in the system is to get one installed, and have it monitored to show the performance and how it integrates into the home.