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Bristol Heat Pump Ready

An air source heat pump standing beside a house with snow on the ground.

Putting the right heat pump, in the right homes, for the right customers, by the right installers.

Project duration: ongoing

Bristol Heat Pump Ready, part of the wider Government funded Heat Pump Ready programme, plans to install at least 200 heat pumps, more than doubling the number of heat pumps in homes in the city.

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

Through this project, the Centre for Sustainability (CSE) team is working with local partners across the city including Bristol City Council and an expert advisory group to develop an approach that puts the right heat pump, in the right homes, for the right customers, by the right installers.

This ensures consumer experience is prioritised, local installers are upskilled and the electricity network will face minimal disruption.

Drawing on our decades of experience in working with communities on complex energy projects, CSE is leading the customer engagement elements of the project, including both the initial engagement with householders and providing ongoing householder support throughout the heat pump journey process. This work involves a partnership with a local community energy group and facilitated engagement with local residents.

A vital part of the decarbonisation mix

Domestic heat pumps have a critical role to play in achieving net zero and Bristol has 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.

Bristol Heat Pump Ready is a collaborative approach and includes:

Bristol Heat Pump Ready phase one

Following an initial phase that ran from May-October 2022 to develop the concept and test ideas (see the Phase one 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.

Community engagement is key

During phase one, the CSE team made strong connections with local community groups and held workshops to engage residents across a specific area of Bristol.  We discussed what heat pumps are, why they are a crucial part of decarbonising our heating and reaching net zero and what’s involved in getting one. The CSE team prioritised engagement with homeowners to understand their motivations for upgrading their homes. Establishing first if they interested in heat pumps, what information they needed and if they wanted one, what would it take to get one installed?

This was a crucial part of the project to figure out what they want, rather than simply telling them what they need.

More financial support for homeowners

Our work with homeowners confirmed that there isn’t enough funding available to people who are “able to pay” to install heat pumps on their properties. People need more information, to be able to trust in the technology and more financial support. If the UK wants to speed up the installation of heat pumps, more needs to be done to make more support available.

Updating heat pump digital content

To make sure the best, most up to date information was available, the team reviewed and updated digital content on heat pumps across the CSE website and created a new heat pump myth buster in response to common themes emerging from our community engagement.

Collaboration with a range of different groups

Across the project, the CSE team worked with a wide variety of different groups and organisations from local authorities, community groups and organisations across the supply chain.

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