Sustainable Heat Insights for Fast and Fair Shift to New Zero (SHIFT-0)

Heat pump installation

Delivered by Oxford University

Decarbonising residential heating is a major challenge identified by government (HM Government (2020) and its advisors (Climate Change Committee (2020). MCS has enabled the exponential growth in microgeneration in the UK, which now stands at over 1.2 million installations (MCS (2021). Similar rates of growth are needed for heat pumps. Some estimates predict that between 2025 and 2050, up to one million heat pumps will need to be installed in UK homes every year (Element Energy (2020).

This project builds on pioneering work funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Oxford Martin School (OMS) at the University of Oxford. The Oxford Martin School is a research institute at Oxford undertaking interdisciplinary research to solve the global challenges of the twenty-first century. The Oxford Martin School Programme on Reconfiguring Energy Needs, Equity and Wellbeing (ReNEW) uses the same methodology as SHIFT-0. Targeted and contextualised smart meter data helps us to understand energy use patterns, especially among households who struggle with the cost of energy. While ReNEW is focussed on household gas and electricity usage, SHIFT-0 will specifically target the transition from gas to electricity use resulting from heat pump adoption. During the 2022/23 heating season both projects will be closely aligned in terms of data collection, analysis and outputs.

The project will work towards the following key outputs;

1) Model for scalable adoption and learning: Use readily available smart meter data to estimate the impact of a transition to heat pumps for different user groups and technology types. The model will be open source and designed to be refined and improved as more data becomes available and the performance of systems improves over time. All tools and methods will be made public to encourage the widest possible adoption.

2) Joint publication of policy recommendations: The University of Oxford and the Oxford Martin School have established channels of dissemination for policy relevant research. We will work with MCS to maximise the impact of our findings and produce a policy briefing note and report. We will also publish models, data and key findings in relevant academic journals, such as Energy Policy and Energy and Buildings.