Smart Systems and Heat

Introduction

Decarbonising heat is the biggest challenge the UK faces in terms of transforming the energy system to meet carbon reduction targets and achieve our clean growth ambitions.

Energy Systems Catapult is delivering the UK’s largest smart, consumer-focused project aimed at overcoming the barriers to the decarbonisation of residential heat – the Smart Systems and Heat programme.

The Challenge and Opportunity

Heating accounts for almost one third of total UK carbon emissions; to achieve the 2050 target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions, the UK must decarbonise the domestic heating market at the rate of 20,000 homes a week by 2025 – the current rate is less than 20,000 homes a year, with only 4% of homes having low carbon heating.

Innovators are struggling to address this market failure and unlock the commercial opportunity, due to technical, regulatory, economic and social barriers that block new low carbon heat products, services and business models getting to market.

The Project

The Smart Systems and Heat (SSH) programme is focusing on delivering the UK’s largest smart, consumer-focused project addressing the decarbonisation of residential heat. SSH phase 1 was delivered by the Energy Systems Catapult for the Energy Technologies Institute, with the SSH phase 2 being funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Smart Systems and Heat was delivered in partnership with Newcastle City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Bridgend County Borough Council.

Our Approach

SSH has taken a Whole Systems approach to help innovators address this market failure and unlock the commercial opportunity of low carbon heating, by:

1. Addressing the technical, regulatory, economic and social barriers that block new low carbon heat products, services and business models getting to market;

2. Bringing innovators, businesses, local authorities, networks, policy-makers, regulators and consumers together to investigate new energy market arrangements that deliver low carbon heating solutions at scale;

3. Establishing a range of platforms, capabilities, assets, modelling tools and insights to help innovators discover new low carbon heating solutions that consumers value.

Our Outputs

SSH Phase 2 – is delivering a range of reports and insight papers on:

  • Field trial – a 100-home trial in our Living Lab is investigating how consumers use heat and testing their interest in buying ‘heat as a service’.
  • Market transformations  – looking at new business models for energy services, the importance of interoperability and consumer protection, and the policy and regulatory context to enable this.
  • Local context – moving forward the Local Area Energy Planning work from SSH1 to develop targeted, specific projects that demonstrate the ideas in practice, including Smart Energy Plans in the three local areas.

SSH Phase 1 – delivered a range of reports and insight papers on:

  • Local Area Energy Planning – we designed a planning framework to help local government, energy networks and other key local stakeholders prepare for a low carbon future in an cost-efficient and strategic way.
  • Domestic Energy Services – investigated how the emerging ‘smart home’ could help consumers get high quality experiences from low carbon heating solutions.