Delta-ee, the specialist new energy research and consulting company, today found consumers are willing to have their heating systems controlled by third party apps during the Freedom Project (Flexible Residential Energy Efficiency, Demand Optimisation & Management), a trial demonstration of hybrid heat pumps in consumer homes.
Installed in 75 homes in Bridgend, South Wales, the hybrid systems combined a conventional gas boiler with an electrically powered air source heat pump (ASHP). This also included a smart control device designed by energy software firm Passivsystems, which automatically switched between the technologies based on inputs such as prices and temperature.
In addition to potential carbon and cost savings, the trial aimed to establish both how well consumers would adapt to a hybrid system and their willingness to relinquish a degree of control to third party apps.
Delta-ee found that:
- Participants were open to the new systems and to giving some control to third party apps
- 96 per cent of trialists choose to keep the heat pumps after the project, citing improved flexibility as a key benefit
- Despite positive feedback, future uptake will depend on innovative business models and tariffs, supported by policy, to make hybrid systems affordable
The need for new business models was echoed by Jennifer Arran, Principal Analyst at Delta-ee: “Electrification of heat is hard and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for all consumers. You need to give them choice to make sure you cater to their different needs.”
Held between August 2017 and May 2018, the project was conducted in collaboration with a number of partners including gas network operator Wales & West Utilities and electricity distribution network operator Western Power Distribution.
Delta-ee (www.delta-ee.com) is a research and consulting company helping companies navigate the change from ‘old energy’ to ‘new energy’. Headquartered in Edinburgh and with offices in England and continental Europe, our clients comprise many of Europe’s leading utilities; heating appliance manufacturers; controls companies; policy makers; and investors. Delta-ee provides a range of subscription research services, consultancy and specialist Summits.
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