Europe’s 20 million heat pumps now avoid emissions the equivalent of the entirety of Greece.
A record number of heat pumps were sold last year in Europe.
Data from Europe shows that 3 million units replaced around 4 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2022 - the equivalent of avoiding 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
It means that heat pumps are now helping Europe to avoid 54 megatonnes of CO2 or roughly the equivalent annual emissions of Greece.
The figures come from the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) which says the extraordinary growth will likely continue. It is being driven by the need to decarbonise and move away from fossil fuels as part of the REpowerEU plan.
“2022 was a phenomenal year,” says Thomas Nowak, secretary general of the EHPA.
“This spectacular heat pump growth is a testament to an innovative and sustainable sector which is doing everything to increase capacity and accordingly is creating jobs, helping climate action and stabilising energy bills.”
But, Nowak adds, many people still don’t have heat pumps. He puts this down to a range of reasons, from the sector operating at capacity to the upfront cost of installing one to a lack of clear information.
Where in Europe are the most heat pumps being sold?
When it comes to growth, Poland leads the way by quite a large margin. Sales increased by 120 per cent in 2022 when compared to 2021. The country is rapidly undergoing a heat pump revolution, breaking records for sales along the way.
A high percentage of homes in Poland were previously heated by coal but prices have skyrocketed as gas supplies have got tighter. In July last year, the government had to introduce a subsidy for households heated using the fuel.
And as costs have increased, people have been drawn to heat pumps as a way to reduce their fuel bills - despite the fact they can be expensive to install.
The country with the second biggest growth was Czech Republic with a 99 per cent increase from 2021. It was followed by the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Austria and Germany.
The landscape is a bit different for the overall number of heat pumps sold in 2022. Out of the 16 countries the EHPA has data for, Italy saw the highest number at over half a million, closely followed by France.
The countries with the most heat pumps sold per 1,000 households were Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Where are countries falling behind on heat pump installation?
A new report from environmental campaigners at WWF says Scotland will fall “significantly short” of its target for decarbonising homes. The country’s net zero by 2045 target involves removing fossil fuels from heating in more than a million homes by 2030.
And reaching that target means installing more heat pumps and other zero-emissions options. WWF Scotland says that a faster rollout of heat pumps could lower energy bills for a majority of Scottish homes.
But the government needs to take action to turn these plans into a reality.
According to the EHPA, some of the most prominent barriers for homeowners include the upfront price of installation, operating costs and gaps in information about the technology for consumers.