UK heat pump adopters open up homes to encourage others to ditch gas boilers | Renewable energy

UK householders considering swapping their gas boiler for an electric heat pump could see how they work by visiting an early adopter in their area.

A new service aims to help would-be heat pump owners to book a visit with households that already have one installed, through a website launched by the innovation charity Nesta.

The site,, allows users to locate one of 150 households that have signed up to host interested visitors to look at their low-carbon heating systems.

Currently London and central Scotland have the highest concentration of heat pump hosts, while East Anglia is “becoming a heat pump hotspot” with 11 hosts advertising on the platform so far, Nesta says.

Katy King, a director at Nesta, said the service would make it easier for prospective heat pump owners to see how the devices worked in a real-life setting, and ask any questions they may have.


What are heat pumps and why is the UK government pushing them?


In simple terms, an electric heat pump works like a reverse fridge, extracting warmth from the outside air, the ground or a nearby water source before concentrating the heat and transferring it indoors. They can usually be found outside a home, and they look like a standard air-conditioning unit.

About 85% of UK homes use gas boilers for heating, making it one of the most polluting sectors of the economy. The fossil fuels used in our homes for heating, hot water and cooking make up more than a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, meaning low-carbon alternatives are critical if the UK government hopes to meet its climate targets.

Jillian Ambrose

Photograph: KBImages/

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“We hope that if more people can see heat pumps in real-life settings, then more people will have confidence that a heat pump is the right fit to heat their home,” she said. “Changing the way we heat our homes is one of the most meaningful things we can do to cut carbon emissions. Many homeowners are keen to make green improvements but don’t get the opportunity to see how low-carbon technologies, such as heat pumps, work in action.”

The government has identified heat pumps as a crucial technology to help cut carbon emissions from heating, which makes up more than a third of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Ministers aim to have 600,000 pumps installed a year by 2028, but take-up has been hampered by high costs and scepticism of the new technology. In response, the government has increased its grant scheme to £7,500 to help bring down costs to levels more comparable to conventional gas boilers.

Martin Callanan, the minister for energy efficiency and green finance, said: “This fantastic new service will help families work out whether a heat pump is right for them, and we’ll continue supporting households to make the switch with our £7,500 grant. We already know that heat pumps are three times more efficient than gas boilers and demand is soaring, with applications to our boiler upgrade scheme up 75% on last February,” he said.

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