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

Domestic heating accounts for around one fifth of total UK carbon emissions. To achieve our 2050 target of an 80% reduction in emissions, the UK’s 27 million households will need to rapidly adopt new low carbon heat solutions through the 2020s and 2030s.

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.

Digital technology has the potential to make low carbon heat a better, more consumer-friendly option for all UK households. 

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, by building:
Deep understanding and evidence around consumer needs and how to harness low carbon solutions;
Key tools and capabilities to help industry, local authorities and policymakers.

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.

SSH 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.

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.

Building on the consumer insight work and local energy system analysis delivered in SSH1, the focus of SSH2 has been:

Building in-depth insights about consumer-focused ‘smart energy services’ (i.e. tailored service propositions enabled by digital controls and sensors); and
Creating capabilities to support and accelerate the uptake of low-carbon heating technologies across the UK.

Our Outputs

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

  1. Consumer trials of smart energy propositions – a 100-home trial in our Living Lab investigating how consumers use heat and testing their interest in buying ‘heat as a service’.
  2. Market transformation (new business models and market structures) – looking at new business models for energy services, the importance of interoperability and consumer protection, and the policy and regulatory context to enable this.
  3. Local Area Energy Planning – taking the local energy system modelling work from SSH1 and developing 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 Energy System Modelling – 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.