Smart energy innovators tap into government funds to boost heat pumps  

Pioneers in smart energy technology, Chameleon Technology, spearhead a consortium that has landed government funding to revolutionise heat pump technology.

Trade body urges consumers to “stick some on the card” when buying a heat pump.

This endeavour aims to strengthen public faith in the eco-friendly heating solution, speeding up the journey to net zero. 

This joint venture, involving partners Evergreen Energy, University of Salford’s Energy House, EnAppSys, and TalkTalk Telecoms, has been awarded £763k by the Department for Energy Security and net zero (DESNZ) to bring the Total Home Optimisation Management (THOM) project to life. 

The THOM project: making heat pumps user-friendly 

As part of the government’s Heat Pump Ready Programme, the THOM project will test heat pump optimisation, shedding light on this heating system’s cost-effective and eco-friendly advantages. Currently, heat pump installation is an extensive and complex process. The THOM project aims to simplify this process through user-friendly tools, thus encouraging more consumers to consider this cleaner heating alternative. 

The partnership will utilise existing home data to enhance the accessibility of heat pump technology and incorporate it into a broader smart home setup. The project will introduce a Home Energy Management System (HEMS) powered by a full-package software solution to maximise the utility of heat pumps while reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. 

Addressing the lag in heat pump installations 

Despite the clear benefits, heat pump installations are lagging, falling short of the Government’s target rate of 600,000 installations per year by 2028. As of 2021, less than two per cent of UK homes had low-carbon heating systems, with approximately 50,000 heat pumps installed that year.  

To overcome this, the project partners are developing an intuitive app that integrates smart meter data with internal analytics to provide detailed insights into individual home energy usage. The user-friendly app simplifies the process of sizing and installing a heat pump. 

The path towards flexible energy consumption 

With the innovative app offering efficient heat pump sizing and potential energy cost reductions, this collaboration significantly strides towards flexible energy consumption. The THOM project is expected to strengthen Home Energy Management System (HEMS) capabilities, optimise heat pumps alongside other sustainable solutions, and support consumers in making informed choices about low carbon technologies. 

Mike Woodhall, CEO of Chameleon Technology, said: 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.

“Supporting the pursuit of these eco targets, as well as making a meaningful shift towards flexible energy, is critical for reducing environmental impacts. The move towards net zero remains a key objective for Chameleon Technology. 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: “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.

Cutting energy costs after installation

“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, MD 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.”

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.”

Helping consumers make the right choices

Susie Buckridge of TalkTalk Telecomms said: “When it comes to Net Zero we face significant challenges, including how to adapt our houses to run on low carbon technologies. This project is all about using data to help consumers make the right choices, so that this massive transition is easier.”

Phil Hewitt of EnAppSys (Part of the Montel Group) added: “Consumers will be at the heart of the energy transition. Through engagement and smart control of heat pumps the consumer can help the country consume energy in a more efficient manner. EnAppSys is excited to be working with our fellow team members on the project, bringing our expertise on wholesale energy markets and balancing services to the energy optimisation piece of this project.”