Heat pump in new building: selection and system strengths

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Energy- and cost-efficient heating with environmental energy –– in new buildings, the conditions are ideal. This is one of the reasons why heat pumps are becoming an ever more popular choice in new build projects. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, heat pumps were chosen for more than half of all new residential buildings in 2022. So why do their strengths become particularly apparent in this context? Which models are worth considering and can costs be reduced with a subsidy for heat pumps in new buildings? Answers to these and other questions can be found below.

Conditions for high efficiency are optimal

New buildings usually have good energy values and a low heat demand. This is due partly to their effective insulation, which loses very little heat. In combination with large-surface radiators, the flow temperatures required for heating are low. A look at how a heat pump works clearly shows: If the difference between the flow temperature and the temperature of the environmental energy source is small, less energy has to be input. As a result, the electricity consumption of the heat pump in new buildings is usually lower than in older buildings. Incidentally, electricity is consumed mainly by the compressor, which plays a major role in raising the environmental energy to a higher temperature level.

Further advantages of the heat pump in new buildings

New build requirements

The installation of a heat pump contributes to the fulfilment of legal requirements for new buildings.


Joint planning of a new building and heating system creates optimal conditions.


Government subsidies are available for particularly efficient new buildings.

Various factors influence the choice of model

Which heat pump is suitable for a new building depends on various factors. Relevant considerations include:  

  • Spatial conditions

  • Available budget  

  • Calculated heat demand

How much space is there in the new building for the heat pump? 

A crucial criterion is the space requirement. Since the installation of a heat pump in a new building can be planned before the actual start of construction, the space required in the building can be easily allowed for. Nevertheless, the size of the plot is usually limited. In addition, local conditions cannot be influenced to any great extent. This plays a role for both brine/water heat pumps (ground source heat pumps) and air/water heat pumps (air source heat pumps).

  • Air source heat pumps: The noise level of the heat pump, or at least the outdoor unit, is relevant in this regard. Although noise emissions are low thanks to advanced technologies such as Viessmann Super Silent, there are still legal requirements. The installation location of the heat pump, for example, must be chosen so as to maintain a minimum distance of three metres from the neighbouring property.

  • Brine/water heat pumps: The noise level is less critical in this case. The most important consideration is whether it is possible to use the ground as a heat source. As a rule, surface collectors or probes are buried in the ground for this purpose. While collectors take up more space on the property, probe boreholes may require a permit for the heat pump.   

What is the individual budget?  

The cost of a heat pump is highly dependent on the environmental energy source chosen. Compared to brine/water heat pumps, air source heat pumps are less expensive to plan and install in new buildings and therefore cheaper. Their comparatively fast installation time is a further advantage. Using the ground as an energy source, on the other hand, enables greater efficiency in operation. The reason for this is the smaller difference between the source temperature and the heating flow temperature. This is because the soil temperature fluctuates less than the air temperature throughout the year.  

How high is the heat demand? 

Before buying a heat pump, comprehensive planning of the heating system is required. The heat demand is also determined in the process. The value calculated in kilowatt hours per year indicates the amount of energy per square metre that must be used for heating over the course of a year. This also influences the choice of environmental energy source. Due to the higher heat demand in larger buildings, a heat pump that uses geothermal energy is more suitable, for example if a new apartment building is to be built. This is because the higher efficiency becomes more noticeable in this scenario. 

Please note: You can find out the difference between heat demand and heat load in the article "Heat load – definition, influencing factors and calculation".

More independence and system efficiency

The heat pump draws about 75  percent of the energy required for heat generation from the environment –– the air or the ground. The remaining drive energy usually comes from the public electricity grid. This part can be reduced if the heat pump in a new building is combined with a photovoltaic system, which also reduces dependence on electricity suppliers. This is because the power needed for operation is covered proportionally with self-produced solar power. Combination with a power storage unit further increases self-consumption. The storage unit then also provides electricity for the heat pump when the sun is not shining.

Energy Management increases more than just convenience

With an Energy Management System (EMS), energy flows within a building can be optimally controlled. Apps such as ViCare enable excellent ease of use. This is because the system can be simply controlled via a smartphone or tablet. Furthermore, a well thought-out EMS also ensures an increase in overall efficiency. It collects data on the generation and consumption of electricity and uses these findings to optimise the energy flows in the entire system. 

Please note: When connected to the web via the ViCare app, Viessmann provides an additional warranty for heat pumps in new buildings. For further information, please visit the "Viessmann guarantee" page. 

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