Heat pumps

December 2023

High Energy heat pumps

In a recent email exchange about the Lochalsh Raasay and Skye Healthy Homes Survey Report, Anne Maclennan of Skye Climate Action said that when she and her husband moved from New Zealand to a house on Skye they wanted to replace the oil central heating with a heat pump, but were deterred by the disruption which would be caused by the need to replace all the radiators and pipework.  She said they "stumbled on the option of a high temperature heat pump because a friend nearby had one", and had one installed themselves.  She said that with no change to the existing radiators it has worked well and efficiently since 2018, and though it may use slightly more electricity, it is still highly efficient.

We had not previously heard of high temperature heat pumps, so looked for information on the internet, and came across three apparently impartial assessments (links below).  All agreed on usually being able to use existing radiators and pipework, and slightly higher purchase and running costs, but there was some disagreement on the need to install additional insulation - which will obviously vary greatly according to the existing state of the building fabric.

Subsequent conversation with a heat pump specialist has suggested that even if installing a high temperature heat pump it may still be necessary to replace pipework and radiators if these are fed by 8mm or 10mm ('microbore') piping.]

If you have been thinking you ought to install a heat pump but put off by the extent of the disruption apparently involved, this could be an option worth pursuing.  Why not come and discuss it at the next Climate Cafe to be hosted by TBI and the Highland Community Waste Partnership on Wednesday 24 January in Fortrose Free Church, from 6.30 t0 8.30?

Climate cafe details

High Temperature heat pump articles




February 2022

Heat pump for Findon Hall

A planning application has been lodged by the Findon Hall Management Committee for the installation of a 5Kw air source heat pump, to heat parts of the building not currently heated.  It will be installed out of sight behind the bike shed. The application reference is 22/00382/FUL  (link to application on HC ePlanning web page).


August 2021

Suitability of heat pumps for Scottish homes

A detailed report by Nesta (A UK innovation foundation formerly known as the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and Energy Systems Catapult (set up by Government to boost innovation in specific sectors and help drive future economic growth), examines the suitability of heat pumps for different categories of Scottish homes, particularly in relation to their energy efficiency and other work that might be required to make heat pumps effective.

One of our goals for a sustainable future is supporting a 28 per cent reduction in household emission by 2030. It is an ambitious target and we know that the current trajectory of decarbonisation will not get us there. We need to do more and we need to do it at pace to  get anywhere near this level of reduction of emissions. It will require wholesale change to the way we heat our homes, away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. One of the problems, however, is that mains gas, which makes up 81 per cent of Scottish household heating fuel (11 per cent use electricity and 5 per cent use oil), is a very effective way to heat poorly insulated and drafty homes. And the UK’s homes are some of the worst performing in Europe.

To help us better understand the issues and to begin to identify solutions and areas for innovation, we worked with Energy Systems Catapult to assess the suitability of ground and air source heat pumps for the Scottish housing stock. Heat pumps have already been identified as a viable alternative to gas boilers in many homes.

Read the report


April 2021

Much of the discussion about reducing carbon emissions from domestic heating refers to the benefits of replacing oil or gas boilers with (usually air source) heat pumps.  Several independent organisations offer advice to householders about the choice and installation of heat pumps, and we collected links to some of this advice

Energy Saving Trust

Home Energy Scotland

Renewable Energy Hub (comprehensive, has links to suppliers)

Changeworks (connected to HES, lightweight)

An interesting variation of the heat pump concept is a sea-source installation in Ullapool, which was visited and described in 2017 by Martin Sherring.

Read Martin's account




Latest News...

Cycle Routes Blackisle.
Highland Liftshare. Sign up for free now

TBI Business Directory

Add Your Business

Do you run a sustainable business on or near the Black Isle? Add it to the TBI business directory

Spread The Word...

We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.