• OVO Energy and its partners – Kaluza, Sunamp, Retrofit Works and Parity Projects – have been granted £4.2m of government funding to install up to £15,000 worth of technology in pioneering customers’ homes.  
  • Over 90% of UK homes currently rely on burning natural gas for heating and collectively this represents over 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions. 
  • The collaboration builds on OVO’s sustainability strategy, Plan Zero, supporting customers to halve their total lifestyle carbon emissions and eliminate their household emissions by 2030.
  • The project is an important milestone in the UK Government’s Net Zero ambitions, which was announced this time last year.
  • The trial demonstrates how innovative technologies can provide better, low carbon ways of heating homes.  

29th June 2020: OVO Energy has been chosen to lead one of the UK’s largest Zero Carbon Heating trials to demonstrate a practical and low cost solution to creating zero carbon homes in the UK. 

The trial will install up to £15,000 worth of technology in 250 pioneering customers’ homes, including: Mitusbishi’s Ecodan air source heat pump, and Sunamp’s thermal batteries, creating a fully zero-carbon heating solution. Customers will also benefit from free energy efficiency upgrades to their home worth up to £5,000.

The trial aims to help the UK reduce emissions from residential heating, the largest single source of emissions at over 20% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. It will also demonstrate innovations that overcome barriers to heat pump deployment, such as running costs, across a range of housing types. Through creating a fully zero-carbon heating solution in customers’ homes the trial is an important step to decarbonising heat and tackling the climate crisis, as if successful it could be rolled out on a much larger scale to more homes across the country.

Bringing a wealth of experience in electric heat innovation, Kaluza will connect the heating appliances to its smart flexibility platform, streaming and analysing the data from sensors on every device. Insights from Kaluza’s technology platform will enable the trial partners to gain an in-depth understanding of how the heating systems are behaving across homes. From there, Kaluza will explore how further cost and carbon savings could be achieved if the devices were coordinated and intelligently controlled to consume energy, when it is cheapest and greenest for the grid.

OVO’s research with Imperial College London found that adding the flexibility from thermal storage to electric heating can save £6.9bn in total system costs, and represents one of the lowest cost pathways to heat decarbonisation. The funding is the second grant to be awarded to OVO Energy after receiving £1.6 million from the Government’s Low Carbon Heating Technology Fund for a collaborative Zero Carbon Home Project in December 2018. 

Jessica Tan, Director of OVO Smart Homes, said:

“We are committed to helping our customers decarbonise their homes through practical and affordable solutions. This trial allows us to develop alternatives to gas heating, which is a critical piece to deliver our sustainability vision under Plan Zero – to decarbonise 5 million homes by 2030. We are excited to be leading this work with partners, to drive the technological solutions which will move us towards zero carbon living in a way that’s sustainable for our customers and the climate”

Conor Maher-McWilliams, Head of Flexibility at Kaluza, said:

“Smart electric heat has game-changing potential for decarbonisation. Not only will this trial help to quantify the rewards for customers, but for the energy system as a whole. Uncovering how distributed devices like these could work together to support the grid will be crucial in scaling renewable heat solutions that can strengthen system resilience. Kaluza is one of the UK’s smart heat pioneers and is proud to be joining industry leaders in this landmark trial.”

William Edrich, Global Head of C&I, Sunamp, said:

“The outcome of this trial has the potential to accelerate the transformation of the way we heat homes in the future, and we’re excited to be part of it. Demonstrating the impact of integrating our high power density, compact thermal reserve units with other world-leading technologies in a flexible system should give consumers the confidence to consider making the transition from gas to improve efficiency and cut carbon emissions. Our RAL Grade A phase change material used in our thermal storage units enables space heating load shifting to cheaper and greener electricity and rapid warming of hot water and radiators.” 

Russell Smith, Managing Director, Retrofit Works, said:

“We are excited that a project of this importance has recognised the criticality of smaller, local contractors to the national housing transformation we all need to embark on.  The RetrofitWorks model was created to support householders and contractors alike with tried and tested processes driven by impartial experts to make sure that the final outcome is what was promised at the start. It’s this collaborative approach we need to ensure a controlled growth in the home retrofit sector as we head towards our net zero carbon targets, and this project will be an example of how we can scale up across the country.”

Liz Laine, BDM, Parity Projects, said:

“Parity Projects is very pleased to be providing the analytical tools to identify the homes suitable for his project using its cloud-based CROHM software platform, then supporting each householder with a Whole House Plan to demonstrate the enormous impact the new heat pump technology will have. It will also ensure that the most appropriate application will be made by identifying whether insulation and other measures are needed in advance of the heat pump to optimise its performance. We’re excited about providing such a strong strategic overview for each participating household as it’s the foundation of any national roll out.”

Participants will be homeowners in the South East of England and have outdoor space, have a home internet connection. 

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