Heating in residential buildings: 4 best practices to renew your system & comply with European regulations

Climate change and global warming are considered two of the greatest threats of our century, whose serious and interconnected consequences affect the environment, health, and the economy.

Over the last century, we have witnessed a steady increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, due to human activity. To remedy this, several targets have been set. The European Commission has proposed several initiatives as part of the European Green Deal with the overall goal of achieving climate neutrality in Europe by 2050 and raising the EU's greenhouse gas emission reduction target by at least 50% by 2030. Therefore, there is much that can be achieved by focusing on HVAC systems. Let’s focus on residential buildings, and on how emissions cuts and cost savings can be gained altogether.

Daikin has a sustained experience in providing energy efficient heating solutions, as in this particular case



How to renew a residential heating system?

To meet sustainability requirements by reducing CO2 emissions relating to HVAC, in the residential sector, two are the main possibilities:

  • Upgrade the existing system by implementing energy-efficient solutions.
  • Replace the heating system or design a new one with heat pumps.

Starting from the first one, if a complete replacement would not be possible, Daikin offers a series of solutions to reduce the environmental footprint of heating systems and achieve cost savings by combining heat pumps with traditional systems.

To this purpose, Daikin air sourced Small Inverter Heat Pump Series EWYT-CZ with R-32 refrigerant stands out. Its capacity range is from 16 to 90 kW, accommodating to comply with the most diverse residential buildings. As well, as being equipped with Daikin inverter scroll compressors, this ensures optimal adaptation of units’ performance to varying ambient temperatures.

Hence, the Small Inverter heat pump is the perfect solution for customers who want to equip a new building with a modern and energy-efficient heating system, or who want to renovate an older heating system to make it more efficient and environmentally friendly.

The various configuration options allow the design of a system that provides comfortable heating and hot sanitary water and can be installed in a series with 1 to several boilers. Three are the main possible configurations:

  • Bivalent operation: The Small Inverter heat pump can communicate with one or more boilers, installed in series with the heat pump decoupled via a heat exchanger or hydraulic separator . This configuration is particularly relevant for heating systems’ efficiency improvement and maximizing the operation of the heat pump while reducing the use of gas from the boilers, resulting in higher system efficiency and lower environmental impact.


  • Advanced Domestic Hot Water (DHW) control: When domestic hot water is enabled, the Small Inverter heat pump activates a digital output to control an external heater. This configuration allows the heat pump to be the primary water heater, leaving the external heater to make any adjustments.


In this configuration, it is also possible to install the water tank at a maximum distance of 50 meters from the Small Inverter heat pump. According to requirements, it is possible to have a combination of both bivalent operation and DHW in the same system, with the heat pump pursuing the two different temperature set-points for space heating and hot sanitary water.

In these first two configurations, heat pumps support decarbonizing heating systems already existing. As stated, also a complete redesign (or new design) of the heating system is possible with Daikin heat pumps. In this sense, the proposed configuration is a Water loop Cascade, with two main schemes:

  • The Water loop Cascade for households with independent heating system: The water supplied at a constant temperature by Small Inverter heat pumps can be distributed to indoor units located in several residential units, which can act as heating boosters. This configuration is particularly relevant in condominiums because it allows you to benefit from Daikin’s most efficient heating technology integrated into one system to meet all your cooling, heating and hot sanitary water needs. If Daikin Altherma high temperature indoor units are chosen as heating boosters, a complete Daikin system can be designed.

  • The Water loop Cascade for condominiums with a centralized heating system: In this case the hydronic plant is composed of 1 or more air to water Small Inverter heat pumps, supplying water at a constant temperature (generally in the range of 25 to 30 °C) to a water-to-water heat pump that raises water temperature up to75°C in case traditional radiators would be employed. Even in this case a full Daikin heating system is possible, and the water-to-water heat pump is equipped with Daikin single screw compressor and available in three different refrigerant alternatives: EWWH-J- with R-1234ze, EWWS-J- with R-513A,  EWWD-J- with R-134a



Are heat pumps a wise choice to decarbonize residential heating?

The European Commission estimates that buildings in the EU are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. That is why making the building stock net zero is vital to meet the sustainability targets set by the EU by 2050.

Considering that space conditioning is responsible for 80% of the energy consumption and emissions of the European building stock, it is essential to find a way to reduce its impact.

More efficient HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems), then, can be a significant help in the race to carbon neutrality.

Heat pumps among the different technologies the HVAC sector can offer, are the ones that are the most relevant.

Compared to traditional heating and cooling methods, heat pumps can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70%. This is because heat pumps are significantly more efficient than boilers. That means heat pumps can offer equal or better output while consuming less energy and generating significantly lower CO2 emissions.

A heat pump can generate three to five kilowatts of heat for each unit of energy it consumes, and since they burn no fossil fuel, they generate far lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional heating options.



Residential heating in Europe: what targets for households and by when

The installation of heat pumps is a central topic in the European Commission that set the ambitious goal of considering the electrification of the heating and cooling sector as one of the strategic pathways towards import decarbonization.

The European Green Deal identifies heat pumps as one of the key technologies to meet the EU's climate neutrality goal. Given the strategic importance of heat pumps for the achievement of the EU's decarbonization and energy transition goals, in April 2023 the European Commission launched several initiatives, whose main purpose is to accelerate the installation of heat pumps within the European market, overcoming the obstacles and critical issues that still limit their development throughout Europe.

Recently, the Green Homes directive has been approved, which sets a zero-emission target for the EU housing stock by 2050. The Directive requires EU member states to set out plans to reach the target, having new residential buildings built to be zero emission by 2030, and public buildings by 2028. For existing residential buildings, a 16% target reduction in energy consumption is to be achieved in 2030 concerning 2020, and a 22% target reduction within 2035, again vs 2020. The directive also establishes a ban on subsidies for fossil-fuelled appliances for both new buildings and renovations by the 1st of January 2025, and a complete phase-out of fossil fuel heating equipment is to be reached within 2040.

The incremental deployment of heat pumps can reduce and even eliminate the use of fossil-fuelled energy in the building sector and thus delete the negative pollution side-effect of fossil fuel usage.


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