Heat pumps: price, operation, subsidy… the answers to all your questions

The government aims to “conquer the French market” of the heat pump. Today, our country produces between 300,000 and 350,000 per year. On Monday, Emmanuel Macron announced his desire to triple manufacturingto reach one million units per year by 2027, as part of the government ecological planning to reduce the country’s CO2 emissions.

How does a heat pump work ?

The heat pump draws calories from the air, ground or water to return this heat to buildings, in addition to electricity. This system emits no or very few greenhouse gases, unlike oil or gas heating. It does not emit smoke or toxic gases either.

Some, air-air, are reversible and can be used as air conditioning in summer. They are most of the time made in Asia. Air-water heat pumps focus on heating, but can also cool. They do not work with harmful gases from air conditioning: a water circuit is heated.

Is it effective?

Its efficiency depends on the temperature: the lower it is, the less efficient the heat pump is. Below zero, the coefficient of performance goes down, but in an average climate it is up to five times more efficient than a fossil fuel boiler.

“The gas or oil boiler restores 80 or even 90% of heat. With a heat pump, it’s 500%, summarizes Olivier Appert, advisor at the Ifri energy and climate center. For one kW of electricity consumed, between three and five kW of heat are recovered. » One of the disadvantages “is that it takes up space and it can make noise,” he adds.

Who is concerned ?

Currently, eleven million households heat themselves with gas boilers and just under three million with an oil boiler. On French territory alone, it is therefore a question of eventually replace around 15 million gas or oil boilers. However, Emmanuel Macron plans to produce one million units per year by 2027: some experts are already pointing to a “slow pace”.

This Tuesday morning, the Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, nevertheless affirmed that France’s objective would be achieved: “If almost all of the oil boilers and more than half of the gas boilers have been replaced, we will be at the -55% mark (in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030). » That’s seven million in seven years.

In 2022, the Ministry of Ecological Transition recorded “more than 2.6 million air-water heat pumps” installed in France, including 350,000 during the year 2022, in 30 million homes.

How much does it cost ?

List prices range from 1,500 euros per unit for a 3 to 4 kW model intended for a small, well-insulated home, and can rise to 30,000 euros per unit in collective housing. For an average house, it costs 15 to 20,000 euros, including installation, Philippe Dénecé, CEO of Intuis, a French manufacturer of heat pumps, told AFP.

Will we be able to count on a subsidy?

Questioned on this subject, Christophe Béchu first mentioned economic support for the sector. “We must help our manufacturers to build as many heat pumps as possible so that we do not find ourselves subsidizing Polish heat pumps – the strongest on this market – or Chinese. »

And at the same time, the government plans an “increase in the means devoted to MaPrimeRénov so that the remaining cost on a heat pump is comparable to that of a gas boiler, especially for the most modest. »

The State will in fact add 1.6 billion euros to aid for energy renovation, bringing the budget for energy renovation of housing to 5 billion euros (including MaPrimeRénov). It is targeting at least “200,000 large-scale renovations next year”, that is to say with insulation and heating, the Ministry of Energy Transition is told.

Is it sufficient ?

For the Oxfam France climate manager, this announcement presents an “interesting technical aspect”, but lacks an overall vision. “It’s not much use if it’s installed in poorly insulated accommodation. We need comprehensive renovation of buildings, otherwise public money is misused, believes Élise Naccarato. If you spend money on your windows, you won’t be insulating or replacing your boiler a year later. »

The NGO calls for “a real public service for energy renovation”: “Today, it is difficult to know where to find help, craftsmen… And the MaPrimeRénov system, accessible under financial conditions, still excludes many people. »

Same observation at Greenpeace: developing heat pumps is “essential”, but they must be ociated with “policies of energy sobriety and efficiency”. “The President of the Republic has chosen to ignore the efficient renovation of housing and particularly those where 12 million people live in energy poverty,” laments Nicolas Nace, responsible for energy transition within the NGO.

For Olivier Appert, the renovation of buildings is an important issue, but heat pumps are one of them. “Finally we are concerned about reindustrialization, this is excellent news,” he rejoices. I wanted to install a heat pump, I had the choice between a Japanese and a Korean one. I hope that tomorrow I will have the choice between a French girl and a Chinese girl. »

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