Zero Carbon Heating Trial Research

This page describes research activities in which participants of the Zero Carbon Heating BEIS trial may be asked to partake:

  • Home visits / contextual inquiry
  • Surveys
  • Diary studies
  • Depth interviews

It also describes how the data is stored and used.

Home visits / contextual inquiry

During this activity, a researcher and note-taker will visit you in your home in order to observe and ask questions specific to that context. These visits will take no longer than 3 hours at a time. This means that we’ll be asking you questions about how you are using, living and interacting with your new heating system as well as about how this has changed over time and how it compares to your experience with your previous system.

We are looking to speak to 4-5 participating households, and to visit those households once every 3 months for a year. This will help to give us a depth of knowledge across seasons.

Depth interviews

Depth interviews are a semi-structured conversation that will focus on you, your context and your previous experiences. We will ask a lot of questions about these topics but there are no wrong answers; we are simply trying to learn about you and your perspective.

These will take place over video chat with the same households that will participate in the home visits and and will take place before the installation of the new system. This is a chance for the OVO researchers to introduce themselves and to meet relevant members of the household as well as to get a sense of your heating patterns as they are before the new system is installed. We anticipate these taking no longer than an hour.


We will use survey questionnaires to track and learn about your experience. These will be sent digitally and will be designed to capture your answers as quickly and effortlessly as possible. This will help us to understand trends across participants from the entire trial.

These surveys will be sent to every household participating in the trial once every 3 months for a year. We will ask for one representative from each household to fill it out and we will make sure to keep it to under 15 minutes.

Diary studies

We may ask you to participate in a diary study, to give us better time-based data. A diary study is a way of gathering data over a period of time that focuses on the activities that take place during that time. By helping us log your routines and tasks over a longer period, you will help us to identify patterns in your heating routines and tasks.

For one week every 3 months for a year, we will ask some participating households to submit a daily report (don’t worry, it won’t take you longer than 10 minutes to do) on certain heating or temperature related activities (specific instructions to come later).

Data handling

We will not be sharing information about you with anyone outside of OVO or the trial partners (BEIS, Mitsubishi Electric). Any information that we use about you for analysis and/or sharebacks will be anonymised. The information recorded is strictly confidential and stored securely on our research drive. After 1 year from the end of the trial we will delete the recordings/data.

How the data will be used

We will be analysing the data in order to answer our research questions. Once we feel we have confidently answered our research questions we would like to use quotations and video clips in order to better communicate our findings.