Flexibility of morning heating demand in UK homes
Clare Hanmer, UCL
Most future scenarios for decarbonizing the UK energy system include a high proportion of homes with electric heat pumps. If current heating demand patterns persist, this will lead to a peak in electricity demand in the morning. Demand management to reduce this peak can only be achieved if households are prepared to accept flexible running times for their central heating.
The research investigates the factors that shape the patterns of home heating demand in the UK, focusing on requirements in the early morning: the point at which preferences for cooler temperatures while sleeping changes to a requirement for warmer temperatures when getting up currently causes a morning peak in gas demand. The aim is to provide a picture of how people actually use their heating in the morning peak period and how flexible they are to accept changes in heating patterns.
A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods is being used, combining analysis of data from heating controllers in several hundred homes with qualitative interviews with case study households.
A theoretical framework, which draws on adaptive thermal comfort and social practice theories, has been developed to situate heating operation within the multiple practices taking place in the home and to consider the different options available to manage the internal environment.
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