Initial results from Electrification of Heat demonstration project lead to conclusion that ‘heat pumps can be successfully installed in homes from every style and era.’


The Electrification of Heat (EoH) demonstration project, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has found that across 742 different heat pump installation around the country, ‘there is no property type or architectural era that is unsuitable for a heat pump.

Heat pump advocates believe that the results of the project led by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) will spike the guns of those who claim that heat pumps are only suitable for new builds.

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, said ESC.

The first report on Heat Pump Installation Statistics includes the numbers and types of heat pumps installed, property type/age and on vs off-gas grid.

ESC said that the 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 heat pump technologies installed were also deliberately varied, including low-temperature and high-temperature air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps; and hybrid heat pumps incorporated with a gas boiler. In addition, further technologies, such as heat batteries were installed where appropriate.

ESC makes a number of conclusions:

  1. The EoH project was successful in installing the full range of heat pump system types into the full range of targeted property types and ages
  2. 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 archetypes in Britain that are “unsuitable” for heat pumps is not supported by project experience and data.
  3. There were small shortfalls (though within planned tolerances) in the number of installations for properties built pre-1945 (22 per cent installed against about 30 per cent in real-world), with a slight excess in later age brackets. ‘This is indicative of there being a greater challenge in successfully designing heat pump systems for older homes. However 163 installs were successfully achieved in these older pre-1945 properties, clearly showing that such challenges are manageable,’ said ESC.
  4. 80 per cent of the installations were in properties that were previously connected to the gas grid and where (prior to the heat pump installation) the primary heating system was fuelled by mains gas.

The project appointed three delivery contractors to work with clients in three regions across the UK:

  • South East of Scotland – lead delivery contractor Warmworks, working with Energy Savings Trust and Changeworks.
  • Newcastle – lead delivery contractor E.ON, working with Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle.
  • South East of England – lead delivery contractor Ovo Energy, working with Kaluza, RetrofitWorks, Parity Projects and SunAmp.

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.”

The EoH project now moves on to the ‘monitoring and optimisation’ phase where the delivery contractors collect detailed performance data on the installed heat pumps and look to ensure they are performing within the expected parameters.

Richard Halsey, Capabilities Director at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “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.’”


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