Demonstrating the potential of heat pumps in multi-family buildings

Part of Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

What is the aim of this project?

This project, carried out under the HPT TCP, aims to increase the use of heat pumps in multi-family buildings. To reach this goal it seeks to demonstrate potential energy savings and renewable energy use from heat pumps in new buildings and in retrofitted buildings, or even in buildings that have been retrofitted with heat pumps without improving the building envelope.

How could the project be explained to a high school student?

Heat pumps extract energy from the air, the ground, water or waste heat and use it to heat buildings. Significantly increasing the use of heat pumps in multi-family buildings will help to to phase out fossil fuels – coal, gas and oil – that are contributing to global warming. The main objective of this project is to demonstrate that heat pumps are energy efficient and bring great benefits by using renewable energy to heat buildings.

How does the project help to achieve climate and energy goals?

  • Heat pumps can save a lot of energy.
  • Heat pumps draw around three-quarters of the energy they needs for heating from the environment, at no cost, reducing operating costs.
  • Heat pumps get their energy from their immediate environment –air, groundwater, surface water, the ground or waste heat – and thus raise temperatures in buildings by adding a small fraction of drive energy, most often electricity.

What government policies could advance this project?

  • Making clear statements on the role of heat pumps in government climate protection policy.
  • Lowering the price of electricity – for example, by reducing taxes –to make heat pump use more attractive for end users.
  • Increasing the price of fossil fuels – for example, by increasing CO2 prices – to make heat pumps more attractive.
  • Promoting or providing incentives for renovation and retrofitting of buildings.
  • Supporting research and development of the application of heat pumps in multi-family buildings.
General types of the heat pump solutions in multi-family buildings.

General types of the heat pump solutions in multi-family buildings. Source: HPT TCP Annex 50


  • Austrian Institute of Technology
  • Graz University of Technology (Austria)
  • EDF – Research and Development (France)
  • CSD Ingenieure AG (Switzerland)
  • Infinitus Energy Solutions Group (Netherlands)
  • TNO (Netherlands)
  • Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
  • Teknologisk Institut (Denmark)


Mixed financing (government/industry) depending on the country

Expected project duration

January 2017-June 2021

About the HPT TCP

Established in 1977, the HPT TCP functions as an international framework of co-operation and knowledge exchange in the field of heat pumping technologies used for heating, cooling, air-conditioning and refrigeration in buildings, industries, thermal grids and other applications.