The ‘Electrification of Heat’ Demonstration Project has found disruption to households during heat pump installation to be the main barrier to a mass rollout in the UK, and has called for sector innovation to facilitate a solution.
To create a representative sample of households in Britain, the project, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), installed 742 heat pumps in a range of households in partnership with delivery contractors, Warmworks, E.ON and OVO Energy.
The majority of these homes had Energy Performance Certificate ratings of C or D.
The project demonstrated that heat pumps are suitable across a wide range of housing types and that energy efficiency upgrades are not predominantly necessary for successful installations – in fact, only 15% of the households used required upgrades.
There are two reports on this study – Home Surveys and Installation and Participant Recruitment – which used data from Energy Systems Catapult to identify four barriers to adopting heat pumps.
The main disincentive for 47% of the participants that didn’t proceed with installation was the disruption of having a heat pump installed in their home.
The other barriers the report discovered were: practical, 8% lacked space for an outdoor unit, whilst 2% lacked space for an internal thermal store; economic, installation and upgrade costs for 4% of the properties assessed were found to be too great; and heating capacity constraints.
To tackle these constraints the Home Surveys and Installation report recommended a full review of design and installation requirements, guidance on the installer certificate process and the standardisation of the heating system design tools.
Training for domestic heat pump installers was also identified as a solution for a mass heat pump rollout in Britain.
Last month, a new training academy aimed at upskilling heat pump installers was launched by EDF Energy, CB Heating and Daiken.
The Participant Recruitment report suggested a number of alterations for an improved customer installation experience, including providing customers with an overview of the installation journey in advance so as to address concerns and establish buy-in. Giving households dedicated customer support throughout the installation journey was also suggested by the report.
“The Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project is providing crucial insights to help industry better understand how to scale-up heat pump adoption across Britain to meet the government’s ambitious target of 600,000 installations per year by 2028” said Guy Newey, CEO at Energy Systems Catapult.
“To reach the target, we will need to innovate to make switching to a heat pump as smooth a journey as possible for consumers; to drive down the costs of installation; and to provide a much better consumer-heating experience.”
Newey also praised the £60 million Heat Pump Ready Programme funded by the BEIS for “opening new doors for innovation in the sector.”
The UK Government announced £15 million in additional funding to the heat pump programme this September, following a report commissioned by Greenpeace UK that found the UK to be “woefully off track” governmental heat pump targets.