Heat now, Sir? Certainly Sir – heat as a service

Bristol Energy’s Market Development Manager, Sarah Diver spoke to a highly engaged audience at Zero West’s recent ‘Zero Carbon Heat’ event. Sarah explained how proposing energy as a service can provide a powerful stimulus for the switch to low carbon heating.

This year Bristol Energy launched a 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. To achieve this, we need to revolutionise the way we heat our homes.

One way to do this is to look at how technology can help us change our behaviour in our use of heat.

Earlier this year, Bristol Energy launched a year-long trial of a brand new 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, 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. The result is users consume heat more efficiently. 

Crucially, there is also a commercial incentive for energy suppliers to deliver the required level of comfort using less energy and carbon, and this could create a route-to-market for low carbon technology.

Catapult living lab

Bristol Energy has 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 ought 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 Bristol Energy’s unique Heat as a Service proposition. They are now benefitting from the flexibility of warm hours, while helping the company design a scalable version of the tariff.

Understanding fuel poverty

“At Bristol Energy, we develop products and services that are founded in social purpose.” says Sarah. “Working with the ESC we’ve identified a number of Bristol households that are considered to be fuel poor, and we’ll be inviting them to participate in the Living Lab. Future energy services must be inclusive, and not only for 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 and access low-carbon technologies.”

“We’ve 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 to more customers. We look forward to sharing our findings.”

If you’re interested in Bristol Energy’s innovations and want to hear more, sign up to their launchpad newsletter for further updates and developments.

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Author: Zero West