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

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: May 2022- January 2024

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

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

Following a Phase one feasibility stage, the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) team worked with Bristol City Council, Buro Happold, Sustainable Westbury on Trym and Bristol Energy Network, local partners across the city and an expert advisory group to develop an approach to put the right heat pump, in the right homes, for the right customers, by the right installers. 

This approach was designed to ensure consumer experience was prioritised, local installers were upskilled, and the electricity network would face minimal disruption. 

The project centred around the development of an integrated consumer journey in which interested local householders were identified and supported to explore their suitability and readiness for a heat pump through a number of key steps.  

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 CSE team made strong connections with local community groups and held workshops to engage residents across Westbury on Trym in Bristol   

The CSE team prioritised engagement with homeowners to understand their motivations for upgrading their homes. Establishing first if they were 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. 

Bristol Heat Pump Ready phase two  

Drawing on our decades of experience in working with communities on complex energy projects, CSE led the customer engagement element of the project, including both the initial engagement with householders and providing ongoing householder support throughout the heat pump journey process. This work involved a partnership with a local community energy group Sustainable Westbury on Trym and Bristol Energy Network 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 was 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 was a collaborative approach and included: 

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 property. We were not able to offer any financial incentive beyond the existing Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant, which people already had access to if they wanted it. We found that 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. 

CSE’s key recommendations  

The CSE team has gained valuable insights from this project. Here are our key recommendations for future similar project design:

Technology adoption projects should be built over longer-term cycles  

Utilise short, intensive periods of engagement  

Build and capitalise on the experience of other local people 

Walk before you can run and avoid too much complexity  

Think carefully about the entry point  

DESNZ has commissioned IPSOS Mori to produce a full evaluation of Phase 2. 

Share this: