Richard Gardner, a local heating expert and Managing Director of Synergi SW, has praised the BBC for its recent documentary shedding light on heat pumps. The hour-long feature, named ‘Heat Pumps: What They Really Mean for You,’ explores the future of home heating and electricity production.
Richard said, “It was a captivating watch, and I commend the BBC for raising awareness about renewable technologies and the array of options available to everyone. Understanding the government’s efforts to facilitate a low-carbon future is of utmost importance given the seriousness of the environmental challenges we face.”
However, Richard seeks to clarify some aspects portrayed in the programme. Contrary to how the documentary may have portrayed it, heat pump technology is not new and has become more affordable than ever before. Richard commented, “I have been installing heat pumps for nearly 20 years now and we have proactively been installing since I launched Synergi SW in 2014.”
One of the concerns raised in the programme was in relation to the high cost of electric versus gas. However the property they featured has previously relied on oil, which is significantly more expensive than gas, thus quicker savings and payback periods.
The documentary touched upon insulation and glazing requirements, but Richard highlights that each installation’s success depends on the system’s design and its compatibility with the heat pump – sometimes radiators don’t need to be replaced. Moreover, heat pumps are not the only solution available. For properties where heat pumps may not be feasible currently, a hybrid approach could be implemented—utilising a combination of a heat pump, operating for approximately 80% of the year alongside a traditional boiler for the remaining time to significantly minimise carbon emissions.
Addressing concerns about the national grid’s capacity, Richard advocates that heat pumps are undeniably the most viable technology for the future. The documentary rightly emphasised the importance of improving electrical infrastructure to accommodate heat pump systems, which far outweighs the risks associated with attempting to integrate hydrogen into existing gas mains.
Richard emphasises the importance of having competent and experienced suppliers, cautioning against the pitfalls of inexperienced installers, which may result in costly and inefficient systems for households. He said, “Here at Synergi SW we take huge pride in having seasoned heat pump specialists while also nurturing the next generation of apprentices to ensure excellence in this rapidly evolving field. We are upskilling all of our qualified engineers and our four apprentices are going to be equipped with the skills for heat pumps upon their qualification.”
As a company, Synergi SW are members of the RECC (Renewable Energy Consumer Code) and the CPA (Consumer Protection Association). They are Gas Safe, Oftec, WIAPS and Water Safe registered. They are currently working with organisations such as the Diocese of Exeter and Cavanna Homes on their low carbon heating solutions, as well as retrofitting heat pumps on homes in the local area. Richard has qualified in energy efficiency, low surface temperature heating, ground, air and water source heat pumps and G3.