Skip to main content

Your web browser is out of date. Please update it for greater security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Choose a different browser

Bristol Heat Pump Ready FAQs


Frequently asked questions about Bristol Heat Pump Ready

Jump to specific questions and answers using these quick links.

What is Bristol Heat Pump Ready?
Why focus on heat pumps?
What is the Bristol Heat Pump Ready household offer?
Who is eligible for support?
Where does the money for this project come from?
Who is involved in Bristol Heat Pump Ready?
Why are we focusing on Westbury-on-Trym?
Am I guaranteed a heat pump if I take part?
What does the household survey involve?

What is Bristol Heat Pump Ready?

Bristol Heat Pump Ready is part of Heat Pump Ready, a national programme designed to increase significantly the number of heat pumps installed in British homes – up to 600,000 installations per year by 2028.

It is administered by the government Department for Energy Security and Net Zero as part of the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

Why focus on heat pumps?

Domestic heat pumps have a critical role to play in achieving net zero, even for scenarios where hydrogen is used for significant heat decarbonisation.

Heat pumps are a well-known technology with significant uptake in other countries. For instance, one quarter of homes in Norway are heated via heat pumps.

The carbon emissions produced by heating domestic homes is equivalent to all the diesel and petrol cars in the UK. Therefore, we need to decarbonise nearly all heat in buildings to meet net zero by 2050.

Bristol has gone further and set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. Heat pumps play an important role in Bristol’s One City Climate Strategy, which suggests that around 60% of all buildings will need to be heated by a heat pump to decarbonise the city (with the other 40% heated by district heating networks).

In 2022, Bristol City Council, joined forces with other partners and applied to be part of the national programme. Bristol is now one of four projects across the country to test new approaches for promoting widespread adoption of heat pumps at a local level.

The Bristol Heat Pump Ready project is a collaborative approach and includes:

Following an initial phase that ran from May-October 2022 to develop the concept and test ideas (see the Phase 1 report here), the current phase of the project began in March 2023 and will run until January 2025. Heat pump installs will start from January 2024.

What is the Bristol Heat Pump Ready household offer?

Through Bristol Heat Pump Ready, local householders can access comprehensive support to guide them through every step of the heat pump journey. From the initial idea to the installation and evaluation of the new heat pump’s performance.

As part of this program, the Centre for Sustainable Energy will offer a range of valuable benefits:

You’ll have the opportunity to speak with an experienced independent home retrofit assessor to discuss your individual household situation, we’ll outline the process and answer any questions about your home or the Bristol Heat Pump Ready project.

Our experts will conduct a thorough home survey worth £1,000 to identify the best heat pump for your home and calculate its running costs. We’ll also identify energy efficient home improvements that could help reduce your bills. And the best part? We’re offering this survey at a heavily discounted cost, so you’ll save big while taking a significant step towards a more energy efficient home.

For just £100 you’ll have a home heating survey from Veritherm, a trusted local company. You’ll find out where your home loses and retains heat leading to receiving a heat pump that’s perfectly sized for your home. This prevents the problems of having a heat pump that’s too small and doesn’t heat properly, or one that’s too big and costs more than necessary. Unlike traditional calculations, this survey uses sensors in your home for better accuracy. It also suggests other energy-efficient improvements to lower your bills and is yours to keep whether you choose to install a heat pump or not. Find out more about why measuring home heat loss before deciding on a heat pump is so important. 

We’ll advise on additional works that may need to be carried out ahead of a heat pump installation and support you with this process.

Gain access to a directory of vetted local heat pump installers supported by The Green Register ensuring you work with reputable professionals who will deliver high-quality results.

Access discounts of up to 30% from leading heat pump manufacturers to reduce the cost of installation.

You may be eligible for a £5,000 contribution towards the installation of your heat pump, we’ll help you find out. (Please note that this contribution is subject to certain conditions, such as installation being carried out within the project terms and conditions.)  And you may also be able to access low interest loans from Lendology CIC to help spread the cost of financing your new heat pump.

We’ll continue to support you even after the installation, ensuring your heat pump works well and heats your home efficiently.

There are lots of things to consider when thinking about getting a heat pump.  This package is designed to help ensure homeowners have got everything they need to make an informed decision about whether a heat pump is right for their home. There is no legal contract or obligation to proceed until the point at which a householder signs an agreement directly with a heat pump installer.

Who is eligible for support under Bristol Heat Pump Ready?

Due to the innovative nature of this funding stream, the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero has specified key criteria to decide who is eligible for support through the Heat Pump Ready Programme.

A key outcome for the national project is to test the impact of installing a large number of heat pumps in a small area on the local electricity distribution network. Because of this, there is a project requirement for multiple heat pumps to be installed in homes connected to the same low voltage electricity transformer at the same time.

This means that, for a household linked to an individual transformer to be eligible for the installation of a heat pump through Bristol Heat Pump Ready, at least 1 in 4 of the other properties connected to that same transformer must also progress to the stage at which they agree to having a heat pump installed through the project.

To have a heat pump installed as part of Bristol Heat Pump Ready, householders must have:

In order to increase the chances of getting enough sign-ups to meet the required density targets and secure funding for installation within this project, we have adopted a focused strategy. This involves identifying specific areas where we believe there is a higher likelihood getting enough people to sign up. This targeted approach involves:

Where does the money for this project come from?

The funding for this project comes from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, a £1 billion Government fund designed to increase the availability of low-carbon technologies, systems and business models in power, buildings and industry.

Bristol’s successful bid to the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio has secured funding to help develop systems and processes that will enable wider take-up of heat pumps and similar technologies across Bristol in the coming years. Whilst some of this funding will be used to subsidise the installation of heat pumps into homes in Westbury-on-Trym through the life of this project, this funding is no different from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), a parallel fund that is open to all householders, albeit with slightly different criteria.

Please note: the funding received for delivery of the Bristol Heat Pump Ready project has been awarded to us by the Government and can only be used on this project. It is not taken from Council Tax.

Who is involved in Bristol Heat Pump Ready and what are they doing?

There are a number of local and national organisations involved in the development and delivery of the Bristol Heat Pump Ready Programme. Each organisation brings a specialist skillset and expertise that is enabling us to deliver a project we believe addresses a number of the barriers to heat pump uptake simultaneously.

Why are we focussing on Westbury-on-Trym?

Through the initial phase of this project and through modelling for the Bristol One City Climate Strategy, Bristol has identified areas of city best served by heat pumps.

Westbury-on-Trym was deemed by Bristol City Council to be an appropriate location for the pilot phase of the Heat Pump Ready Project due to a number of reasons including:

These assumptions were tested through Phase 1 of the Bristol Heat Pump Ready project (find the report here) and based on the findings from Phase 1 it was agreed that Westbury-on-Trym was a suitable area to progress through to Phase 2. 

Am I guaranteed a heat pump if I take part?

Due to the minimum uptake requirements specified above, there is no guarantee that anyone who engages with this project will receive a heat pump as part of Bristol Heat Pump Ready.

Householders that progress to the stage of submitting a letter of intent but do not progress to having a heat pump installed (either through opting out or due to there being too few sign-ups to meet minimum uptake requirements) will already have received a considerable amount of support and guidance on their best next steps as well as a comprehensive in-house survey at a heavily discounted rate.

These households will be supported to identify alternative next steps based on their individual situations. For example, this may include support to access the Boiler Upgrade Scheme or other support initiatives such as Retrofit West. For householders that opt to apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme there is also the possibility that they can progress to an install using the same installer engaged through the Bristol heat Pump Ready Project.

What does the comprehensive household survey involve?

Through Bristol Heat Pump Ready, householders are supported to access a comprehensive in-house survey designed to better ensure that the right heat pumps are installed in the right homes.

Usually in MCS accredited heat pump installations, the size of heat pump required for a home is determined through a desk-based calculation involving the size of rooms and assumed performance of parts of the building based on a visual survey. This is a broad-brush approach and cannot account for critical factors related to an individual building’s ability to retain heat. Using this approach can lead to the installation of heat pumps far larger than required, which for a householder will result in a higher up front installation cost as well as an elevated ongoing running costs, or in some occasions not large enough to adequately heat the home.

Within Bristol Heat Pump Ready, we are using a new survey approach where the performance of each home is measured directly, rather than relying on a visual survey. There are two types of measurement that householders may be able to access: an overnight test and a 3-week test. Both involve the temporary installation of sensors to measure the total heat loss from the property. By understanding how much heat is lost from the property we can more accurately ascertain how much heat is required to heat the property and therefore have a better understanding of the most efficient size of heat pump to install.

Whilst both surveys measure the heat loss from the property there are differences between them and which one is appropriate for you will depend on both the construction of your property and your household situation.

The overnight survey uses temporary heaters to artificially elevate temperatures in the property. Once at a suitable temperature, the heating is turned off and the subsequent rate of heat loss is measured to ascertain the buildings ability to retain heat. Due to the sensitivity of this test, householders will be required to vacate the property for 24 hours. All costs associated with heating the property must be covered by the householder and occupiers will have to source and fund their own accommodation for the night.

For the 3-week survey, householders are able to remain in their homes and continue as normal. Much like the overnight survey, sensors will measure how much heat is lost from the property, however for this survey the householders can continue their usual routine, provided that the home is regularly heated. The sensors are about the size of a matchbox and will be discreetly located in out of the way places around the house. All costs associated with heating the property must be covered by the householder.

These measurements are being delivered by Veritherm (overnight) and Build Test Solutions (3-week) and whilst both are being delivered at a heavily subsidized rate through this programme there will be a cost to householders of between £100 and £200 per survey.

Have more questions?

This is an innovation project and we’re aware there will likely be additional questions that emerge. Because of this, if you have any additional questions that we haven’t answered here, please contact us at BHPR@cse.org.uk and we’ll respond to your query as soon as we can. And please check this page regularly for updates.

If you want to apply for a heat pump