Mitsubishi Electric

VIBES Award: Product Award

WINNER

Highlights

The judges were impressed with Mitsubishi Electric’s product, which has adapted an existing technology from a commercial scale to use in the domestic market. The product has huge potential as a viable alternative for households who are not on the mains gas network.

Mitsubishi Electric’s Livingston manufacturing facility produces energy efficient heat pumps which are sold throughout the UK, Europe and beyond. In September 2009, the factory commenced production of the Ecodan air source heat pump (ASHP); the only UK-manufactured heat pump to receive the prestigious Ecolabel for its environmental credentials.

Mitsubishi Electric have a well-established EMS accredited to ISO 14001 and have taken the extra step to EMAS accreditation thereby demonstrating the highest level of corporate commitment to environmental improvement. Their Environmental Vision 2021 includes raw material and product initiatives to design out waste arising from the manufacture of their energy efficient heat pumps.

The Ecodan product is MCS accredited and has EU Ecolabel approval, which provides assurance to buyers that the product performance will match the manufacturer’s claim of high efficiency. The Coefficient of Performance of 3.2 (note: at certain test condition):1 means that 3.2 units of heat are produced for each unit of electrical input. The product therefore reduces CO2 emissions from domestic heating and domestic hot water, in line with UK and Scottish Government objectives.

The VIBES judges commended Mitsubishi Electric for developing this product for the domestic market despite higher capital costs (around £4k for the product) and the requirement for step change away from conventional fossil fuel based systems. Although some upgrades to heating infrastructure such as radiators is likely when retrofitting, the product has lower operating costs and its typical payback has been shown to be a few years. This could be reduced depending on the level of the Renewable Heat Incentive due in June 2011.

Whilst a number of companies have or are developing similar systems, any widespread uptake of the Ecodan system would positively impact on the market, by stimulating demand for this and similar products. Such increased product demand will help to secure skilled and safeguard jobs at this unique Scottish site. Early adopters have been in the social housing market where running costs, low maintenance requirement and reduction in CO2 emissions have been key purchasing considerations. There is therefore a potential for positive impact on fuel poverty. The product also provides a lower cost and carbon heating solution for off gas grid properties.

The judges were impressed with Mitsubishi Electric’s product, which has adapted an existing technology from a commercial scale to use in the domestic market. The product has huge potential as a viable alternative for households who are not on the mains gas network.

Mitsubishi Electric’s Rodney Ayre, who was full of praise for his colleagues at the Livingston plant where Ecodan units are manufactured, stated: “This is another endorsement of the important role Ecodan can make to lowering fuel bills and reducing the nation’s carbon emissions house by house. Ecodan is also the first UK manufactured ASHP to achieve an approved Ofgem carbon score, which can be used for CERT Funding.

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