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Heat-as-a-service trialled in 100 UK homes

Two companies have successfully trialled selling ‘heat-as-as-service’ – rather than just retailing units of energy – as part of a ‘Living Lab’ trial run by the Energy Systems Catapult. 

This new approach is thought to hold much promise as a way to reduce heating bills and decarbonise the heat market. 

In the trial, 100 homes – spread between Newcastle, Manchester, the West Midlands, Gloucestershire and Bridgend in Wales – were fitted with smart heating systems that provide room-by-room temperature control and a wealth of data on consumer behaviour and the thermal performance of the home. 

Energy Systems Catapult created a heatas- a-service offering called a ‘Heat Plan’ – where instead of buying units of energy (kWh), consumers buy hours of warmth in their home – called ‘Warm Hours’. 

Now, two companies have successfully trialled heat plans with consumers. Baxi Heating UK successfully sold a plan that bundled a new heating system, servicing, maintenance and energy for a fixed monthly price. And Bristol Energy became the first energy supplier in the UK to trial selling heat-as-a-service, selling both fixed price and pay-as-you-go heat plans to domestic customers. At the same time, the Energy Systems Catapult tested the performance of hybrid heating systems that combine gas boilers with an electric heat pump. 

Dr Matt Lipson, Consumer Insight Business Lead at Energy Systems Catapult, said: ‘The UK has a target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, yet only about 5% of UK homes currently have low carbon heating, compared to 85% with gas boilers. Low carbon heating is simply a step into the unknown for most households.’ 

‘Yet our research clearly shows that people care more about heating outcomes – such as getting warm and comfortable – than which device or system delivers the heat. If people have the peace of mind that heat-as-a-service will deliver the comfort they want at a price they can afford… then when it comes time to replace their gas boiler, they will be more confident of switching to a low carbon heating system like a heat pump,  district heat network or hydrogen boiler.’

News Item details


Journal title: Energy World

Countries: United Kingdom -

Subjects: Heat - Decarbonisation - Energy costs -

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