As well as leading to a reduced carbon footprint, heat recovery systems can offer significant financial benefits. However, it is necessary to be cautious towards manufacturers’ claims about the energy saving potential of their products.
That said, the breakeven periods offered by heat recovery systems are more commercially viable than those associated with other renewable heat technologies, such as heat pumps and solar thermal.
The Carbon Trust estimate that a commercial/office heat exchanger system with an efficiency of 70% could save around 38% from a company’s or organisation’s gas bill, while the high efficiencies offered by rotary heat exchangers mean that you could expect a complete return on your investment after just two years.
In the case of boiler flue economisers, the energy bill savings mean that you could break even after four or five years (Source Carbon Trust, Heat Recovery: A guide to key systems and applications (August 2011), p. 16). One should also recall the potential for improving the lifespan of the boiler due to reduced thermal shock.
Those who install a MVHR system in a domestic property may save 25%-50% on energy bills due to the reduced heating demand, and these savings could pay back the initial investment within 5 years. Once again, this depends on individual factors such as the general energy efficiency of the house (insulation, air tightness, etc.), as well as the installation quality and quality of components used.
One should also note that heat recovery and ventilation systems are powered by electricity, so they will cost a small amount to run (though this is a matter of pence per day and no more than £30 per year for domestic MVHR systems).
Given the fact that energy prices are rising exponentially, the savings offered by heat recovery systems will only become greater.
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