PATRICK Harvie has backed the use of heat pumps in Scotland after a Labour peer said he did not think it was a suitable alternative to the use of fossil fuels. 

The Survation study of more than 2000 people showed that 65% supported the Scottish Government enforcing new rules for better insulation in existing homes at key moments like buying or selling a property.

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland, Lord Willie Haughey said he did not believe that installing heat pumps would reduce people’s carbon footprints.

He said: “It is not feasible to think for one minute that a heat pump is an alternative heat source and if anyone thinks, everyone wants to do their bit to get to carbon zero, but there’s no way you could say that a heat pump does anything to reduce your footprint.

“You’ll probably use more. It still plugs into the grid, it’s run by electricity so how can Patrick Harvie say he’s going to give someone a superior energy certificate because they’ve got a heat pump.”

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Glasgow-born Haughey made his millions through a global refrigeration business and his company is one of the leading suppliers of heat pumps.

He added: “The bottom line is if you live in a block of flats today and your heat source was changed from a gas boiler to a heat pump, if you look at all the science behind that come the end of the year you will have done nothing to reduce your carbon footprint.”

However, when asked if what the Labour peer said was true, Harvie (below) replied: “No. This was a slightly confused interview I have to say.

“The fact is that we need to shift away from fossil fuels for our heating. That means, for the most part, some kind of electrically driven heating system.

The National:

“Now you can go for the sort of thing that Willie Haughey is advocating which is electric boilers and you’re relying entirely on electricity to turn that into heat.”

What does a heat pump do?

Harvie went on to explain what heat pumps actually do and why he believes they are part of the solution in helping to reduce carbon emissions.

He explained: “What a heat pumps do is they use electricity to drive a pump that then takes the heat energy from the environment around you, usually from the air.

“You can also have ground-source and water-source heat pumps so that makes it far more efficient.

“You get much more heat energy out of it than the electricity you put into it. That means lower bills, it means a lower draw on the grid and obviously whatever level of carbon is involved in your electricity production it means a lower carbon footprint as well.

“Now Scotland has a very high level of renewable electricity generation and that means as we continue to see more renewables our electrical consumption will be very low or zero carbon in the future.”

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He stressed that it would not be the only new technology that could help reduce carbon emissions.

Clash with BBC presenter

It was put to Haughey by Martin Geissler that he didn’t have faith in his own product given he was advocating for something else.

The Labour peer didn’t take the question well however and replied: “It’s a small part of what we do Martin. It used to be a big part of what we do.

“This is a technical debate and what I’ve told you here is scientific. It’s not political and it doesn’t go against my business.

“I sell plenty of heat pumps for the right application, not for domestic heating systems.”