15 September 2011
In Switzerland, oil and gas still account for more than 67% of total energy
consumption, a large part of which is mainly used for room heating and domestic hot water preparation. In 2007 the Swiss Federal Council updated its energy strategy, the main objectives being to reduce overall energy consumption, ensure security of energy supply and increase climate protection by reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Consequently, heat pumps (HPs) have been identified as a major asset in achieving some of these objectives. Since the early nineties the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) has encouraged the use of heat pumps by implementing a set of tools, including both direct measures (grant programs that cover up to 60% of the extra investment costs) and indirect (information, communication, quality management and education), that have resulted in a total of more than 180,000 HPs being installed in 2010. Based on this achievement, the SFOE has set the objective of having at least 400,000 HP units installed throughout Switzerland by 2020. Consequently, the focus for the next ten years will be on replacing existing fossil-fuel and electric heating systems.