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The Energy Saving Trust's heat pump field trial is being undertaken to determine the key factors which impact the in-situ performance of domestic-scale heat pumps. The trial includes measurements of technical parameters (such as system sizing and installation) and customer feedback and behaviour.
The field trial is the most wide-ranging monitoring exercise of domestic heat pump installations and customer feedback undertaken to date in the UK. It was undertaken with funding and support from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Scottish Government, the UK’s energy suppliers, six heat pump manufacturers, and one specialist heat pump installer.
The Energy Saving Trust worked with technical experts in policymaking, academia, and industry to develop peer-reviewed methodologies to monitor the in-situ performance of heat pumps.
The trial was launched in July 2008 to monitor the performance of 83 air and ground source heat pumps installed in UK homes for a period of at least 12 months. It was then extended for a second year to undertake additional monitoring and evaluation of areas highlighted as requiring additional research. Final results of the field trial, including data captured during phase 2 of monitoring, will be released in June 2013.
Findings from phase 1, released in September 2010, provided valuable information about the factors that impact the performance of domestic heat pump installations. Our report, 'Getting Warmer: a field trial of heat pumps', provided recommendations for consumers, installers, manufacturers and policy makers, and identified areas that require additional investigation and research. The initial findings illustrated that heat pump performance is highly dependent upon appropriate sizing, installation and integration with the building’s existing heating system, as well as appropriate control by the customer.
Following on from the publication of 'Getting Warmer', further insight has been gained about how heat pumps perform when installed in customers' homes. The Energy Saving Trust has worked with the heat pump industry to update the MCS installer standards (MIS 3003) based on additional analysis of data from phase 1 of the field trial. These updates were launched in September 2011.
The Energy Saving Trust's planned report of the trial's second phase will provide further recommendations for residential heat pump customers based on a number of case studies. These case studies will highlight the factors that determine good and poor heat pump performance.
Results from a separate study – which used different analytical methods – provided additional data analysis and are published in a report by DECC. Download the heat pump field trial report from the DECC website.