Decarbonising heat and understanding fuel poverty with 'Heat as a Service'

26 November 2019

Today, our Market Development Manager, Sarah Diver will be speaking about decarbonising heat at Zero West's 'Zero Carbon Heat' event.

This year we launched our trial product 'Heat as a Service' with Energy Systems Catapult to help UK households cut their carbon.

Household emissions from heating and hot water must reduce by 95% to reach Net Zero targets. In order to achieve this, we need to revolutionise the way we heat our homes to achieve the necessary carbon emission savings.

One of the ways to do this is to look at our behaviour around heating our homes, and how technology can help us change that.

Earlier this year, we launched a year-long trial of our product ‘Heat as a Service’. The trial proposes a ‘Heat Plan’ where customers purchase 'Warm Hours' instead of KWh to heat their homes.

Currently, some consumers find it difficult to control how much they spend on their heating to get comfortable, whilst two thirds of UK households suffer from damp, drafts and even overheating in the middle of winter. Heat as a Service not only provides customers with a simpler way of paying for a warm home, it also provides opportunities to automate heating zonally and discover areas of poor insulation, allowing us to consume heat more efficiently.

Catapult living lab

We have been working with Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) to deliver detailed trials with residents in a ‘Living Lab’ which represents households across the UK. Each property has been upgraded to ‘super smart home’ levels that are predicted to be common by the middle of the 2020s, with sensors providing room-by-room temperature control linked to a digital platform. A number of households in the Living Lab have chosen to switch our unique Heat as a Service proposition and are now benefitting from the flexibility of warm hours, as well as helping us design a scalable version of the tariff.

Understanding fuel poverty

At Bristol Energy, we develop products and services that are founded in social purpose. Working with the ESC we have identified a number of Bristol households that are considered to be fuel poor, and we will be inviting them to participate in the Living Lab. We recognise the challenge that future energy services must be offered inclusively to all, and not only to those able to afford newer technologies. The Heat as a Service trial will use technology and data to better understand how new ‘Heat Plan’ tariffs can improve the quality of life for those struggling to keep their homes warm. In particular, it supports more manageable bills as well as incentives to help residents better insulate their homes.

We have had promising feedback from our Heat as a Service trial from our domestic customers and it has been recognised across the energy sector as a trail blazing innovation. Following this first year of success, we are excited to make further improvements as we move into our second year and extend the trial across more customers. We look forward to sharing our findings with you in due course, so watch this space.

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