SMART FLEX Heat Pump Trial
Be part of a pioneering zero carbon energy system trial in Oxfordshire
As part of Project LEO (Local Energy Oxfordshire) we are exploring how people can benefit from the decarbonisation of heating in homes.
The trial is now closed to new participants. If you’ve registered for the trial, then we’ll be in touch to talk through next stages.
What is the trial?
The Smart Flex Heat Pump trial is working with homeowners across Oxfordshire to see how they can benefit from switching to low carbon heating.
Our delivery partners, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire will be helping homeowners with installation of a heat pump. And we will be working with homeowners to monitor and test their heat pumps through to June 2023.
See our FAQ section below for more information.
What are the benefits of taking part in the trial?
Joining the trial means you are part of an important project exploring how people can benefit from switching to low carbon technologies, such as heat pumps to heat their homes. You’ll also be helping your wider community to tackle climate change.
Alongside this, by being part of the trial you will access:
- A free home assessment and Whole House Plan from Cosy Homes Oxfordshire (worth approx. £500), with expert support to identify any other energy improvements which would cut the carbon emissions of your home.
- Additional communications and monitoring equipment for your heat pump, and training on how to use this to increase your control of the heat pump and your home heating. This may also unlock an additional one off payment from the RHI as part of the monitoring and maintenance service package (MMSP). This starts from £800.
- Insider knowledge, as we’ll keep you informed and updated throughout the trial period about our trials and our findings from them, and their implications for the smart, local, zero carbon energy system of the future.
What is the process?
For people who already have a heat pump installed:
- If you choose to go ahead, sign up to the trial using this form and return it to us.
- If you’d like to use the Cosy Homes service, you need to register your home through Plan Builder and they’ll get you booked in for your home assessment and Whole House Plan.
- We will work with your heat pump installer or use Cosy Homes installers to install the communications equipment needed as part of the trial.
- From then on, we monitor and test your heat pump use in the trial. You’ll always be made aware of any testing plans, and trials are designed to ensure we don’t impact on your home comfort.
- We’ll keep you informed periodically about how your heat pump is contributing to the trial – as well as the others participating from your community.
- At the end of the trial period in June 2023, we’ll end the trial and ask for your feedback.
If you’re in the process of installing a heat pump (by June 2022) you may still be able to take part. Get in touch with us at email@example.com to discuss.
Have a question?
If you have a question about participating in this trial please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 246 099, and a member of the team will be in touch to help answer your query.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if we go through the whole house plan process but then decide a heat pump isn’t the right solution – do we then need to pay for the Home Assessment and Whole House Plan?
You maintain the right to leave the trial at any time, including if you decide to not go ahead with the heat pump installation. The costs of a Home Assessment and a Whole House Plan will not need to be paid back if you cannot continue in the trial. However, we ask that potential participants only sign up if you’re planning to make an investment in a heat pump and will have one installed by June 2022. Please see the costs table for more detail on potential funds required for installation.
Does the Whole House Plan include an actual person coming to our house?
Yes, one of Cosy Homes assessors (or Retrofit Coordinators) will visit your property to conduct a full assessment of your home. Then on top of the general home assessment, they will do a heat loss survey (probably in the same visit) to assess the suitability of a heat pump.
How noisy is an Air Source Heat Pump?
The noise produced can depend on the size, age and make of the unit, and most modern units are not very noisy at all. Cosy Homes Oxfordshire clients with heat pumps installed have been positive about the noise level and it has not come up as an issue after installs. One client said: “Cosy Homes have already brought a couple of people round to listen to our heat pump. The feedback was surprise and pleasure at how low the noise is.” Air source heat pumps operate at around 40 decibels and can get to 60 decibels if they are working very hard. This is about the same levels as an air conditioning unit.
If you require assistance with gaining planning permission for installing a heat pump, your Retrofit Coordinator can offer advice.
I am unsure whether we have the space in the house to install a heat pump – how much space is required?
The Cosy Homes Oxfordshire team will be able to tell you space needed for a heat pump and possible water tank and where it would go.
We recommend watching this case study video where a water tank was installed in a cupboard next to the old boiler.
Can energy bills go up after having a heat pump installed?
Cosy Homes Oxfordshire will create a Whole House Plan that will give an indication of how your bills might change and allow you to make an informed decision about installing a heat pump and how this may affect your energy bills.
We cannot account for the volatility in energy prices which may affect your bills in the future, however, making energy efficiency improvements will put you in a better position to decrease your energy bills in the long-term.
Why do you work with Grant and Samsung heat pumps for this trial?
They’re the only brands the monitoring equipment currently works with for this trial.
Is there a warranty/compensation scheme if a heat pump is installed that then doesn’t successfully heat a house?
The Cosy Homes Oxfordshire works with a pool of vetted contractors who perform a high standard for heat pump installation, which is then quality assessed by a Retrofit Coordinator. If any issue arises, your Retrofit Coordinator can help raise the issue with your chosen contractor to review the warranty of your heat pump.
Also, taking part in the trial will improve your control over the heat pump and ensure it the controls are being used optimally to heat your home.
What is Project LEO?
Project LEO – Local Energy Oxfordshire – is a series of trials seeking to accelerate the UK’s transition to a decentralised, zero carbon energy system. If we are to meet climate change targets, we’re going to have to change the way we use, store, and generate energy – and Project LEO is exploring different potential ways of doing this in a green and fair way. You can read more about the project here.
Who else is involved?
On this specific trial, the Low Carbon Hub is leading working in partnership with Cosy Homes Oxfordshire, a home retrofit service part-run by the Low Carbon Hub which will support the trial with assessing our participants’ homes and installing the heat pumps.
The Low Carbon Hub is a social enterprise out to prove we can meet our energy needs in a way that’s good for people and good for the planet – developing community-owned renewable installations and reducing energy demand too.
All data will be stored by the Low Carbon Hub in accordance to GDPR regulation –and removed when the trial concludes in June 2023. This is outlined in full detail on the consent form, which is signed when you become a trial participant. You can also read our Low Carbon Hub privacy statement here.