Electrification of Heat – 2000s flat heat pump and heat battery installation

Michael and Joan live in a 2000s three-bedroom flat in urban Edinburgh, Scotland.

They wanted to replace their 10-uear-old combi-gas boiler with a new, environmentally friendly
heating system.

The Electrification of Heat (EoH) demonstration project, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is seeking to better understand the technical and practical feasibility of a large-scale rollout of heat pumps into existing British homes.

The Challenge

The recruitment and installation phase of the EoH project ran from July 2020 through to October 2021, and despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, 742 heat pumps were installed into a broad spectrum of housing types and socio-economic groups, that reflects a representative sample of households across Great Britain.

The range of different heat pumps installed, included:

  • Low-temperature and high-temperature air source heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Hybrid heat pumps incorporated with a gas boiler
  • Some additional technologies, such as thermal storage/heat batteries were incorporated.

Householders were asked to reflect on their first hand experiences of taking part in the programme, including disruption during the installation work, thoughts on the noise and aesthetics of the technology and the outcomes for warmth and comfort.

The Solution

An air source heat pump was installed to heat Michael and Joan’s flat, while a heat battery that stores energy with in phase change material was installed for the delivery of hot water instead of a hot water cylinder – due to space concerns.

With experience using a time-of-use electricity tariff since 2019 – where electricity rates charge
throughout the day depending on demand – the couple programme the heat pump and heat battery to use electricity when it is cheapest – avoiding the 4–7pm peak when the tariff price is higher.

The Outcome

Over two and a half days the heat pump was installed outside the couple’s ground floor flat and the heat battery in the utility room. The property did not require any insulation upgrades although extensive upgrades to existing radiators and pipework were needed.

Michael and Joan feel that the heat pump does a better job than the gas boiler in keeping their flat warm: “we are thrilled with it”. After replacing the radiators, they have no cold spots in the flat and a constant temperature of 19.5°C – which is very comfortable for them.

Compared to their old gas boiler, the heat pump is costing more to run because the price per unit of electricity is higher than for gas, although the number of units used should be less as the heat pumps is more efficient to run.

Read the Full Case Study

Michael and Joan, air source heat pump and thermal storage installation into a 2000s flat in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Electrification of Heat Demonstration project

Reports, statistics and case studies helping to overcome barriers to deployment and demonstrating the feasibility of a large-scale roll-out of heat pumps.

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