With 72% of UK consumers considering sustainability when making purchasing decisions, it’s increasingly important for installers to be aware of both the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the systems they’re fitting in customers’ homes.
Improving the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of UK homes is an important part of reaching net zero, so it’s natural that customers will look for the most efficient option when choosing a new heating or hot water system.
An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use and costs, and recommendations to help the householders save energy and money. Homeowners must get an EPC if they’re selling or renting out their property. This will show the property’s energy efficiency rating, ranging from A for the most efficient properties to G for the least efficient.
The UK Government wants as many homes as possible to hit EPC band C by 2035. Upgrading all homes to EPC C could lead to annual energy bill savings of £7.5 billion, as well as reducing carbon emissions.
In Scotland, the targets are even more ambitious as the Scottish Government plans to introduce regulations requiring all homes to have an EPC of at least C by 2033. The Scottish Government is also consulting on a reform of the EPC system, with updated metrics to support the transition towards zero direct emissions heating systems and improve the fabric of Scotland’s homes.
It’s not just regulations which are driving efforts to improve energy performance – for householders thinking of selling their homes, research by Money Supermarket shows a correlation between better EPC ratings and higher house prices. A home with an EPC rating of A or B can sell for 14% more than an EPC G rated home.
Swapping a gas boiler for a low-carbon heating system such as a heat pump can help householders improve their EPC rating. Heat pumps don’t provide hot water though, so a hot water cylinder is usually needed for this. This can pose a challenge as some homes won’t have space for a cylinder, and because hot water cylinders have higher heat losses than a combi boiler.
Opting for a thermal battery such as a Sunamp Thermino can counteract both of these issues. Heat is stored in a phase change material which is much more energy dense than water, meaning the systems can be up to 4 times smaller than the equivalent hot water cylinder. The batteries also have high-performance vacuum insulation, which leads to lower heat losses.
Aligning with customer attitudes towards sustainability
As well as considering how a product can boost their home’s energy performance, customers are increasingly concerned about the efficiency and sustainability of the product itself.
51% of people in the UK think about the energy efficiency of products and appliances when making a purchase, while 34% consider whether it can be easily repaired. 52% consider whether a product is durable and will last a long time before making a purchase, and 38% have actually paid extra for a more durable and long-lasting product.
Thermino batteries help meet these requirements – the thermal systems have an A+ energy rating, and Sunamp is the only thermal battery manufacturer in the world to be awarded RAL certification for the phase change material. In terms of durability, the phase change material has been tested up to 40,000 cycles of charging, which is the equivalent of 50 years’ use with minimal degradation.
Although Thermino batteries are a highly efficient and effective system, the components are actually fairly simple. Watch CEO and co-founder Andrew Bissell explain how the batteries work and how they’re made.
Customers aren’t just interested in the sustainability of products themselves – they’re also looking at the sustainability credentials of the company as a whole. 40% of consumers chose brands with environmentally sustainable practices or values in 2022, up 6% from 2021. Sunamp is committed to making a positive environmental and social impact and sources all materials ethically. Thermino batteries are non-flammable, non-toxic, and all components can be fully reused or recycled at the end of life.
As more customers prioritise sustainability and energy efficiency when choosing products for their home, installers can enable this by becoming certified in installing low-carbon, sustainable products such as Thermino heat batteries.
A homeowner’s experience of choosing a Thermino heat battery
Michael Eve moved into a 1970s detached house in Brighton in 2021 and set about trying to improve its energy performance. Firstly he installed solar panels and battery storage, which he worked out would pay for itself considering rising energy costs.
Thinking about fitting a heat pump, Michael knew he would need to replace his hot water system and wasn’t keen on another hot water cylinder. Michael said, “The only problem is that hot water cylinders still suffer from loss of energy over time, which from solar was a big problem for us. We didn’t want to put loads of energy in and by the time we got round to using it, we’d lost half of it.”
“Sunamp’s Thermino heat battery became the more obvious choice. We took advice from our installer who agreed it would meet our needs. Lower heat losses and its smaller size compared to the hot water cylinder alternative were the final deciding factors.”
Michael’s Thermino is charged by his solar PV, so collects lots of solar energy on sunny days. Once fully charged, the battery will last a week of normal usage to provide hot water before needing to be recharged.
The water pressure is much better than Michael’s previous vented heating system. He explains, “Having mains pressure hot water is the most amazing thing, I’d forgotten how great it is. It used to take up to an hour to fill the bath, now it takes five minutes. The main difference the Thermino ePV 300 makes is that we have hot water to spare.”
Michael is still keen to install an air-to-air heat pump in the future to improve his EPC rating even further, but for now, he’s happy to enjoy high pressure hot water, lower energy bills and no maintenance costs.
Michael’s Thermino is one of over 25,000 Sunamp systems installed worldwide. They’re quicker and easier to install than a hot water cylinder, and can help installers make the most of the changing consumer tide towards more energy efficient and sustainable products.
Want to know more?
Visit Sunamp’s dedicated information hub for installers to see resources and find out about training opportunities.