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Heat pump in front of a house

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It confirms fans of heat pumps and takes the wind out of the sails of critics: new research shows that heat pumps are more than twice as efficient as oil or natural gas heating systems, even at extremely low temperatures. Even at temperatures of around minus 30 degrees, the climate-friendly devices would still surpass oil and gas heating systems in terms of their performance, researchers from the University of Oxford and the think tank Regulatory Assistance Project write in a study in the journal for energy research "Joule".

The scientists evaluated data from seven field studies in North America, Asia and Europe and concluded that the heat pumps were suitable for almost all households in Europe. According to the studies, temperatures below zero degrees Celsius were even two to three times more efficient than oil and gas heating systems.

"There was a campaign that spread false information about heat pumps," Jan Rosenow of the Regulatory Assistance Project and co-author of the report told the Guardian. Doubts were also sown as to whether they would work in cold weather. "People don't know much about heat pumps, so it's very easy to scare them," Rosenow said.

German Heating Act: more and more heat pumps from 2024

The argument that heat pumps are extremely much more expensive has also been refuted. According to a study conducted by Prognos AG on behalf of the environmental association WWF at the end of August, these climate-friendly heating systems are generally cheaper than fossil gas heating systems over the duration of their use. The reason for this is the planned state subsidy, which should be advantageous in the end even at the lowest level.

Last week, after months of controversy, the Bundestag passed the amendment to the Building Energy Act, also known as the Heating Act. It aims to make heating more climate-friendly through a gradual replacement of oil and gas heating systems. In essence, the plans envisage that at least 65 percent of every newly installed heating system should be powered by renewable energies. It is scheduled to come into force at the beginning of 2024, but will initially only apply to new development areas.

Municipal heat planning should be central to existing buildings: On this basis, homeowners should be able to decide whether to connect to a heating network or have a heat pump or other more climate-friendly heating system installed. Municipal heat planning is to be drawn up in municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants by mid-2026 and for the rest by mid-2028.

From 2024, the government plans to provide a basic subsidy of 30 percent of the investment costs for the installation of a heat pump, with the eligible investment costs being limited to 30,000 euros for a single-family home. For early conversions, there is an additional speed bonus of 20 percent.