Homeowners Professionals
Heat pump Neil Walker

What is the Heat Pump Ready programme?

The UK has pledged to be net zero by 2050, and heat pumps will form a critical part of trying to meet this target in time. They are a more energy efficient way of heating your home than a gas boiler, and the government has a target to roll out 600k a year in the UK by 2028.

The UK has pledged to be net zero by 2050, and heat pumps will form a critical part of trying to meet this target in time. They are a more energy efficient way of heating your home than a gas boiler, and the government has a target to roll out 600k a year in the UK by 2028.

However, many homeowners are unsure about the benefits of heat pumps, or why they might need one. You may be worried about the cost of purchase and installation, or might even have a lack of understanding about how they work. You could also be put off because of additional requirements such as solar panels or insulation.

The government has addressed these issues to encourage a rise in installations and developed the Heat Pump Ready programme to support innovative and achievable solutions.

What does the Heat Pump Ready programme involve?

The Heat Pump Ready programme is a government initiative that aims to identify the current issues with heat pump installation and  support measures that facilitate the process.  

The programme, part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, will improve the customer journey and experience and make the purchase and installation of heat pumps easier. It aims to do this by supporting different projects and methodologies to make installations less disruptive and costly.

Currently, there are 35 projects being tested, and these are split into ‘streams’.

Stream 1 involves finding ways to install a lot of heat pumps within a short space of time and in conurbations. There are a few strategies being tested here, with up to £30m of small business research funding.

Stream 2 involves developing tools and technology to assist with the installation of heat pumps. The government has allocated up to £25m of funding for this aspect of the project.  

Stream 3 is about collating all the data from Streams 1 and 2 to analyse it and ensure the learnings are shared across the Heat Pump Ready programme. From here, there are two plans:  

  • Install heat pumps at scale with the new methods/practices applied to improve the customer experience.

  • Identify new tools or technologies that will make the heat pump roll out easier.

Project examples

Below, you can find just some of the on-going projects and tests being carried out as part of the Heat Pump Ready programme.  

  • Using drones and laser scanners, Stream 1

There’s an ongoing project in Newcastle that is testing the use of drones and laser scanners to reduce surveying time and disruption to customers that want a heat pump installed at home. The technology will produce a digital copy of the house and garden that can be used to determine optimal installation prior to the upgrade.

  • Installing multiple heat pumps in one go, Stream 1

In Oxford, a city that aims to be net zero by 2040, there’s an ongoing project that looks to install lots of heat pumps on one street in one go to bring down the cost of installation.  

One house on every street will act as a ‘show home’, with a heat pump system installed and working. An open day will be held for neighbours to increase interest and encourage sign-ups. Homes that sign up will all have heat pumps installed within a small time frame, and homeowners will receive a support package to assist with the whole process.  

  • Creating a supportive customer platform, Stream 2

This project, known as the Catalyst project, involves creating an online customer platform that will support people with the heat pump installation from start to finish. It will aim to streamline the process by changing the pre-installation checks to just one remote survey and reducing the amount of information that is required upfront.

  • Developing a tool that will size heat pumps effectively, Stream 2

Installing the wrong size heat pump can cost a homeowner more money, so this project aims to reduce operational costs by making sure the right size heat pump is installed in the first instance. This can be done via a tool that will effectively determine the right size heat pump, but also monitor heat pump performance and optimise it accordingly.  

Why is the Heat Pump Ready programme important?

The government is trying to encourage more homeowners to choose low-carbon heating systems to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint. Heat pumps are one of the best ways to do this, but there isn’t enough awareness or education available on these systems.  

The Heat Pump Ready programme is about finding potential problems and issues that homeowners might encounter and the common barriers that exist to more people installing heat pumps;, and addressing them to make the process easier. It’s important if we want more heat pumps to be installed in the UK, and achieve the target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year.

What is the incentive to become Heat Pump Ready?

So, why would homeowners want to install a heat pump if it costs more to buy and install than a boiler? The government understands that this is the view of many homeowners, and is therefore offering solutions to help cut costs.  

The main incentive is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This has recently been extended until 2028, and offers up to £7,500 towards the installation of an air source heat pump or a ground source heat pump. This is a significant saving and will help to offset the initial installation costs of a heat pump system.

There’s also the energy savings that a heat pump can provide. A heat pump uses less energy than a gas boiler; as it produces more than 1 kW of heat from 1 kW of electricity, so for example a heat pump producing 3 kW of heat from 1 kW of electricity in a household that needed 15,000 kWh of gas will only need 5,000 kWh of electricity to provide the same heat.   In the design of heating systems with heat pumps it is therefore extremely important to ensure that as much heat as possible can be created from each kilowatt hour of electricity, as this will reduce the amount of electricity required, which ultimately contributes to your monthly heating bill.  

How can we help?