How flexible is UK home heating demand?
Clare Hanmer, UCL
Most future scenarios for decarbonising the UK energy system include a high proportion of homes with electric heat pumps. Shifting current heating demand patterns to the electricity network would increase peak demands. Demand management to reduce this peak can only be achieved if households are prepared to accept flexible running times for their central heating. I am investigating what this flexibility looks like from the perspective of the households involved.
My case study is a trial of hybrid heat pumps (gas boiler and electric heat pump in parallel) with smart controllers to enable demand management. Hybrid heat pumps have the advantage of fuel switching between electricity and gas as well as shifting electricity demand in time.
The investigation is multidisciplinary, analysing both quantitative data from heating controllers and qualitative data from interviews in trialists’ homes. This enables me both to quantify the running patterns of heating and ask the residents why they have chosen them. I am exploring how residents adapt to a new heating system with algorithmic control and unfamiliar running patterns.
Recommendations will be made on the design of heating systems and controls to encourage flexibility. The findings about factors that restrict the potential for heating load management will be relevant to electricity network operators and organisations providing Demand Side Response services.
David Shipworth, Michelle Shipworth, Charlotte Johnson