A 100% renewable society is possible with heat pumps as the heart of the smart energy system - The main conclusion from the EHPA Heat Pump Forum in Brussels

On September 29 EHPA organized the Heat Pump Forum, a hybrid event where the heat pump industry joined forces with the policy-makers as equal partners in reaching their common objectives for green heat recovery. At the same time, the association celebrated its 21st anniversary. The event took place in the magnificent Gare Maritime, in Brussels. The forum aimed to discuss what is needed today to decarbonize Europe’s “heating and cooling” fully and effectively by 2050.

The event gathered 31 thought leaders, including high-level policy-makers, major players of the heating and cooling industry, influencers from related stakeholders who shared their insights throughout the different sessions.

More than 110 participants were present at the venue and over 350 attendees also joined virtually. The diverse program of panel sessions and expert interventions covered heat pump applications for residential and industrial sectors, digitalization, and new business models.

In addition, the conference covered the need for competence in the value chain as well as for simple solutions and an optimized customer journey – a one-stop shop when investing in a heat pump.

The first presenter of the day was Dan Caesar, the main presenter of the “Fully Charged Show”. He gave an outside perspective on how to communicate with consumers. He advised to market heat pumps as cool – they are future-proof, offer max sustainability, are hyper-efficient, provider of heating and cooling can deliver heat as-a-service, and finally, heat pumps should be promoted as the heart of the smart energy system.

In one of the following sessions, it was discussed how the Fit-for-55 package impact industry. The Commission would like to see the heat pump industry boosted in order to reach climatic targets. Therefore, they want member countries to encourage to stimulate the training of installers and to set national targets, not only for electricity but also for heating and cooling.

Thereafter the new energy market design was discussed – why carbon pricing matters. It was stated that if carbon pricing (ETS) is taken out from effort-sharing sectors (including buildings) in the Fit-for-55 package, something else needs to be put in, otherwise the climatic targets will not be reached. The social impact must be considered, by putting the income from ETS into different funds, etc.

One of the afternoon sessions was on the topic “A new industrial strategy for Europe: co-creating with large and industrial heat pumps”. The industrial sector uses 25% of final energy in Europe and 60% is used for heating. However, it was emphasized that industrial clients might differ from clients in the building sector. Industry clients have most of it focus on what they are producing and less on heating and cooling. In addition, reliability is important! These aspects must be taken into consideration when promoting heat pumping technologies to this sector.

In the final session, the new language for heat pumps from a marketing perspective was discussed and it was stated that most successful campaigns to change people’s behavior often

  • deviate from the big companies’ campaigns
  • capitalize on movements
  • are consumer-oriented

The product name “heat pump” could be an obstacle in marketing. Therefore, less focus should be put on what the product does, but instead, emphasize the services it could provide.

The forum opened new doors towards a decarbonized Europe by 2050 and proved that a fully renewable society is possible with heat pumps as the heart of the smart energy system!