Diffusion, user experiences and performance of UK domestic heat pumps

Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally (2013). Diffusion, user experiences and performance of UK domestic heat pumps. Energy Science and Technology, 6(2) pp. 14–23.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3968/j.est.1923847920130602.2837


Heat pumps for space and water heating are recognised by EU governments as a key technology to meet carbon reduction and renewable energy targets, especially as electricity supplies are decarbonised. As a result of many socio-economic and technical factors, heat pumps are well-established in some EU countries, while in others including the UK, the market is immature. A field trial of heat pumps, found that UK domestic heat pumps performed less efficiently than those in Germany and Switzerland. This paper reports on the experiences and satisfaction of users in the field trial and the influence of technical and user factors on system efficiency. A comparative site analysis indicates that many interacting factors affect heat pump efficiency, including dwelling energy efficiency; heat pump system design and installation quality; and some of the characteristics and different heating behaviours of private householders and social housing tenants. The implications for low carbon energy policies, heat pump design and diffusion are discussed.

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