Heat pump users invited to share their experiences with the curious

Nesta, the UK’s innovation charity, are asking homeowners who use heat pumps to sign up at and play host to homeowners who are considering a heat pump.

The charity’s ambition is to enable everyone in the UK to be able to visit a heat pump near them, see the technology for themselves and speak to people who have already taken the plunge.

For four months in 2022, Nesta ran a pilot scheme with two homeowners and two installer showrooms in London and Glasgow. They attracted 45 visitors and discovered the specific needs of the users and hosts to develop a set of insights for the future development of the service. 

Amongst the findings was that most visitors were only considering heat pumps in the mid to long term and generally had some pre-existing interest in heat pumps, but their levels of knowledge varied. Most had some basic knowledge about heat pumps, predominantly from reading or watching online advice, rarely from real-world experiences such as these visits.

Some visitors had quite specific needs such as logistical concerns about their own property, or technical questions related to how an install could work for them.

Speaking to the visitors after the events, Nesta found an improved confidence that a heat pump was the right choice for them but acknowledged that information during the visit can sometimes be overwhelming, making follow-on support important.

This month the scheme has been launched nationwide, with 150 homes, from London to Falkirk, already having signed up as hosts.

Nesta have two application forms at one for visiting a local heat pump, the other for registering as a host.

A quick search reveals that, just 2.6 miles from the Air Quality News offices, Matt is willing to show us the air source heat pump, which heats his 1945 – 1964 property.

John Condon (pictured above) and Michael Davies, who live in a 2-bedroom Victorian terraced home in East London, have signed up as hosts in the hope of demystifying the process for those interested in installing their own. John said: ‘We would have loved to have visited a heat pump before we installed it. You need to think about where the equipment goes and if you can do that beforehand and see other people’s solutions, that would have helped our process.’

Katy King, deputy director of sustainable future at Nesta, said: ‘Changing the way we heat our homes is one of the most meaningful things we can do to cut carbon emissions. Many homeowners are keen to make green improvements but don’t get the opportunity to see how low-carbon technologies, such as heat pumps, work in action.

‘Our new service makes it easier for prospective heat pump owners to visit a heat pump near them and ask an actual heat pump user any questions they might have. We hope that if more people can see heat pumps in real-life settings, then more people will have confidence that a heat pump is the right fit to heat their home.’

Greg Jackson, Founder of Octopus Energy, said: ‘Survey after survey shows owners prefer them to their old gas boilers, but the UK is still way behind other countries in adoption due to misinformation campaigns.

‘Initiatives like Nesta’s ‘Visit a Heat Pump’ help to break down the myths, allowing potential buyers to learn about them from people who know best – those who already have them and love them.’



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