OVO Energy and a team of experts lead one of the UK’s largest Zero Carbon Heating Trials

29 June 2020

  • 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.”


Notes to Editors:

Criteria for eligibility:

  • They also must own their own home and have outdoor space, have a home internet connection and meet the scheme criteria found in the T&Cs.
  • Participants must also be homeowners in the South East of England region.

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About OVO Energy

OVO Energy was founded in 2009 and redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers. Today OVO Energy and its Retail partners serve nearly 5 million customers, all striving to deliver more affordable clean energy for everyone. OVO is on a mission through its sustainability strategy Plan Zero to tackle the most important issue of our time; the climate crisis, by bringing our customers with us on the journey towards zero carbon living. OVO Energy has committed to being a net zero carbon business and achieve bold science-based carbon reduction targets by 2030, while helping members halve their carbon footprint at the same time.

About the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) brings together responsibilities for business, industrial strategy, science, innovation, energy, and climate change. The Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project is funded by the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme and further details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/electrification-of-heat-demonstration-project.

About Kaluza

Kaluza is OVO Group’s technology platform ecosystem that is driving the transition to a zero carbon energy system. Its software platforms enable energy suppliers to empower their customers with unique digital experiences and smart home technologies that not only reduce energy bills, but lay the foundations for a more flexible energy system. Kaluza’s leading innovation is recognised across the industry, winning ‘Technological Innovation’ in edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, ‘Transport Technology’ in the BusinessGreen Technology Awards 2020 and ‘Best Innovation in Electricity’ in the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2019.

For more information on Kaluza, please visit: www.kaluza.com

About Sunamp

Sunamp are a global leading thermal storage company using Phase Change Materials providing integrated cross vector commercial solutions across its four business units (Residential, Automotive, International OEM and Commercial & Industrial) for waste heat, cooling, electrical heating, heat networks, electricity and gas grid management and maximising renewable energy applications; through the utilisation of thermal storage; -30oC to 285oC temperature range from briefcase to shipping container size. The company is on a growth curve driven by global in-bound enquiries and is currently developing business options for increasing its production and global sites in the UK, Europe, Far East, North and Latin America.

Sunamp’s thermal batteries are market leading innovations in providing highly efficient thermal storage within a small space envelope. In this project, Sunamp will be providing their commercially available UniQ thermal batteries for installation, product warranty and project support (training, system design, analysis and expertise).

About Retrofit Works

RetrofitWorks operate a cooperative of installers across a range of skill sets and trade. They provide a simpler interface for the customer in the form of retrofit coordinators who build the property specification, liaise with the installer network and coordinate the job to ensure the system performance effectively and the customer isn’t negatively impacted by complex project management.

In this project, RetrofitWorks will be recruiting & training ‘Retrofit Coordinators’ and surveyors where needed; providing retrofit coordinators to review remote & in-home surveys and discuss these with customers prior to customer sign up; production of a final specification per home; recruitment & coordination of installers; fulfilment of installations via their installer network, which is Trustmark accredited.

About Parity Projects

Parity Projects uses data science, software and analysis to help its customers deliver energy efficiency efficiently, and effectively. They develop cost-effective retrofit programmes that meet customers’ cost, comfort and carbon goals.

In this project, Parity Projects will be modelling the housing stock in our target region to support recruitment & deepen our understanding before even contacting customers using their bespoke housing stock modelling tool: CROHM (Carbon Reduction Options for Housing Managers).