Government funding for smart energy tech will boost consumer confidence in heat pumps

The heat pump optimisation technology will be developed by a consortium of businesses led by smart energy tech pioneers Chameleon Technology after securing Government funding to encourage consumer adoption.

Support for data project to simplify installs and help consumers make the right choices.

Chameleon Technology, alongside partners Evergreen Energy, University of Salford – Energy House, EnAppSys and TalkTalk Telecoms, has been awarded £763k funding by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) for the Total Home Optimisation Management (THOM) project. The technology will deliver a collaborative approach to testing heat pump optimisation as part of the government’s Heat Pump Ready Programme, which aims to increase public awareness of the cost saving and environmental benefits of heat pumps.      

Engaging with the consumer for better uptake

Through the development of tools to significantly simplify the installation process, THOM will lead to better consumer awareness of heat and energy needs increasing both engagement and uptake.

The project will utilise smart energy insights from existing data within the home to improve access to heat pump technology, embedding the heat pump as part of a wider smart home set-up.

The project will create a heat pump specialist Home Energy Management System (HEMS) supported by a full-package software solution, to help customers understand and maximise the benefits of their heat pumps whilst reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. 

Smart meter and occupancy data from within the home will be used to develop insights into the fabric efficiency before installation, with all outcomes gathered into AI solutions to streamline the heat pump installation, reduce any survey requirements, improve system performance and offer minimum impact to the energy consumer. This will increase both customer and installer confidence in the technology in each installation.

A simpler route to acccelerate uptake

Currently, heat pump installations are not happening at the rate required to meet the Government’s target rate of 600,000 installations per year by 2028. In 2021, less than two per cent of UK homes had low-carbon heating systems, with around only 50,000 heat pumps installed that year. 

For households looking to upgrade outdated, inefficient domestic boilers, the heat pump installation journey involves several engineer visits to assess the feasibility of a heat pump and correctly size the system. This evaluation process doesn’t always take into account the widely varying routines and lifestyles of different customers.

Chameleon Technology and project partners are developing an app to integrate smart meter data, router data (for room occupancy) and smart thermostat data, with internal data analytics to provide comprehensive and accurate individual home energy usage insights. Designed to be engaging and intuitive for consumers, the app will give the user insights into household energy usage, enable them to adjust and manage their home energy set-up, and provide a simpler route for the sizing and installation of a heat pump. Following the introduction of an ivie Bud IHD, data can be gathered, allowing efficiency to be calculated with the resultant score tested against known requirements for a heat pump.

Testing is to be conducted on customer groups and under a controlled environment using the University of Salford Energy House to evaluate and increase the overall performance of the solution.

Making it easy

Mike Woodhall, CEO of Chameleon Technology commented: “More must be done to get the UK on track to achieve the Government’s Net Zero targets. This innovative collaboration is just one of the many ways in which the heat pump programme can really gather the momentum it needs to deliver decarbonised heating – a key pillar in the realisation of Net Zero.

“Our technology is designed to make measures such as heat pumps as accessible as possible, as our mission is to help the consumer to get to Net Zero by making it easy for everyone to participate.” 

Stephane Lee Favier, chief product officer of Chameleon added: “Our app will offer a quicker and smoother user experience to determine the right heat pump for the right home and inform the customer about the efficiency of the property. Using smart data insights in the app will enable a suitable heat pump to be sized and cut energy costs after install due to greater efficiencies with time-of-use tariffs and user habits.

“Optimisation offers the customer features that maintain their comfort, and automatically schedule energy consumption outside peak times to reduce the load on the national grid, taking a significant step towards flexible energy consumption.”

Helen Boothman, managing director of Evergreen Energy said:“The THOM project will accelerate our Home Energy Management System (HEMS) capabilities, optimising the heat pump alongside solar PV, battery storage and a customer’s EV to save them more on their bills.”

Improving heat pump roll out

David Farmer of The University of Salford – Energy House Labs commented: “Installing air source heat pumps that are inefficient or difficult to control could damage consumer confidence and the delivery of a Net Zero housing stock. This project represents an important step in demonstrating the potential for data to improve the rollout of domestic low and zero carbon technologies.”