Clean Heat Streets
Clean Heat Streets is a new innovation project which aims to show how optimised deployment of domestic heat pumps can reduce the complexity and high installation and operation costs of the technology.
The project is one of several successful bids selected for funding through the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Heat Pump Ready Programme (part of the UK Government’s £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio).
Working in partnership with SMS, Oxfordshire County Council, University of Oxford, and Oxford Brookes University, Clean Heat Streets is led by technology giant, Samsung, with support from heating industry disruptors, BOXT, and energy tech firm, Gengame.
The aim is to develop and trial an innovative business model across 3,000 homes in Oxford.
Providing heating and hot water in our homes accounts for around 15% of all UK emissions. So, if we are to realistically realise net zero carbon by 2050, heat is a critical source of emissions that we need to start reducing now. However, whilst heat pumps provide a vital low-carbon technology to help achieve this goal, their widescale rollout is not without its challenges.
Whilst heat pumps are up to four times more efficient than gas boilers and can provide a 100% zero-carbon heat source if powered solely by renewable electricity, boilers are cheaper and easier to install; heat pumps can take up to a week to be fitted in some cases.
To address the challenges facing their rollout – Government wants as many as 600,000 heat pumps installed in homes per year by 2028 – the Clean Heat Streets consortium aims to completely rebuild the complex survey and installation processes that consumers currently face.
The first phase of the project will develop new ways of selecting the most suitable neighbourhoods to achieve a high uptake of heat pumps. Then, working with behavioural technologists at Gengame, the aim is to develop a groundbreaking consumer offer for fully-installed and maintained smart heat pumps.
If successful, phase two will see Clean Heat Streets trialled across 3,000 homes in Oxford, connecting consumers to local installers in a way that removes much of the friction and cost from the process of getting a heat pump installed. Working with local council partners and finance providers will ensure a wide range of consumers, including low-income households, are able to benefit. consider the wider energy system impact of the technology.
As well as providing a solution to the issues of affordability and accessibility, Clean Heat Streets will also consider the wider energy system impact of the technology. The project will work with the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to identify any local network constraints and opportunities to use the flexible smart control of heat pumps, helping avoid the need for expensive grid upgrades and connection charges.
The role of SMS
Through our Energy Services division, SMS has 25+ years’ experience of energy system specification across a variety building types, both domestic and commercial. Utilising our expertise in this area, we have been appointed within the consortium to assess and determine options which provide the lowest lifecycle costs and develop design processes (with a practical balance between installer expertise and smart back-office quality and administrative systems).
SMS National Training Academy and Test Centre
Working with a heat pump installer provider, we will be providing use of our state-of-the-art Training Academy to upskill gas heating engineers. Our Test Centre, based in the same facility in Bolton, Lancashire, will also provide support to the selected flexibility service provider, ensuring access to low level controls on Samsung’s air-source heat pumps.
Half Hourly Settlement
Further down the line of the project, SMS will also call on its experience working with energy suppliers to leverage smart metering and half-hourly settlement of electricity in order to reduce supply costs and enable cheaper, simple-to-understand tariffs to offer heat pump customers.
What our experts say
Clean Heat Streets hopes to address the issues of affordability and accessibility that have so far held back the uptake of heat pumps, demonstrating an optimised deployment model that creates a much cheaper, quicker and easier installation process for consumers. In doing so, we want to ensure that heat pumps as a financially viable and more environmentally friendly alternative to gas boilers are no longer possible to ignore.”