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The Government announced its Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project in 2020 to test the feasibility of a large-scale roll-out of heat pumps in a representative range of British homes.

£16.5m was made available as part of the BEIS Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project which was managed by the Energy Systems Catapult on behalf of BEIS and reported in December 2021. The report found that:

All houses are suitable for heat pumps

There is no property type or architectural era that is unsuitable for a heat pump.

From Victorian mid-terraces to pre-WWII semis and a 1960s block of flats – the project has proven that heat pumps can be successfully installed in homes from every style and era.

The recruitment and installation phase of the project ran from July 2020 through to October 2021, and 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 heat batteries were incorporated.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Lord Callanan, said:

“Heat pumps powered by clean, renewable energy will be key to warming UK homes in a net zero future.

“This trial demonstrates that low-carbon heating systems are an effective alternative for homes of all types and ages. As technology continues to improve and costs plummet over the next decade, they will become the obvious, affordable choice for consumers.”

Richard Halsey, Capabilities Director at Energy Systems Catapult, said:

“the decarbonisation of heat is vitally important to meeting Net Zero targets and electrification will play a crucial role.

“The Electrification of Heat project is helping us understand the customer journey, installation and performance of heat pumps across Britain and the role that different heat pump technologies will play in different types of homes and places.

“There is opportunity for innovation to ensure heat pumps can deliver great heating experiences and operate efficiently as part of a smarter energy system.

“Now the installation phase is complete we will be monitoring how the systems perform and the experience of households to inform the next steps on getting homes heat pump ready.”

Conclusions from the project installation phase

  • The project was successful in installing the full range of heat pump system types into the full range of targeted property types and ages.
  • The project has not identified any particular type or age of property that cannot have a successful heat pump installation. The suggestion that there are particular home types in Britain that are “unsuitable” for heat pumps is not supported by project experience and data.
  • 80% of the installations were in properties that were previously heated using mains gas.

Bursting the propaganda bubble from vested interests

It is no surprise to anyone in the industry that heat pumps are well able to heat houses of all types from all eras.

However, it is significant that this government study comes to such a clear and positive conclusion when the oil and gas lobby, and the gas boiler sales lobby, have been pushing its endless propaganda that heat pumps would only be suitable for new build well insulated houses.

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