The UK’s home heating landscape is dominated by gas boilers, which are responsible for around 14% of our national carbon emissions. To decarbonise the UK and reach net zero, households will need to transition to low-carbon alternatives such as heat pumps – but without intelligent design and rollout, the electrification of heat can increase the demand on the grid, particularly at peak times, costing billions in future upgrade costs over the coming decades.

In an upcoming report from Nesta and the Centre for Net Zero, we explore results from a pilot project designed to test the potential of automation in unlocking heat pump flexibility, shifting electricity demand away from peak times. To mark the launch of our report, we gathered experts from the green energy sector on Tuesday 12 September from 12:00-13:15 GMT to explore our findings and share our plans to implement a larger-scale trial in Winter 2023-24.

Nesta’s sustainable future Mission Manager Andy Regan discussed our insights with Behavioural Scientist Oli Berry, and Daniel Lopez-Garcia, Research Manager at Centre for Net Zero. They were joined by an expert panel: Jenny Crawley, Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Energy Institute, and Adam Smith, Senior Policy Advisor at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Why you should watch the recording

This event is relevant for those who work in the energy industry, particularly: network operators, system operators, energy suppliers, policy-makers and regulators. It would also be of interest to anyone working in the sector more broadly particularly: third party flexibility aggregators, heat pump manufacturers, smart device manufacturers, consumer groups or academics working on heat decarbonisation.

The opinions expressed in this event recording are those of the speaker. For more information, view our full statement on external contributors.


Andy Regan

Andy Regan


Andy works within the Nesta Cymru team as mission manager for a sustainable future. Since joining Nesta in 2021 he has led a project on retrofit finance in partnership with the Development Bank of Wales, and our collaborative project with Centre for Net Zero on heat pump flexibility. Andy has a background in energy policy in roles at Ofgem and Citizens Advice - where he co-chaired the Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru. He joined Nesta from independent think tank the IWA, where he oversaw their policy and external affairs work.


Oli Berry


Oli specialises in quantitative research, including impact evaluation design and quasi-experimental methods. During his two years at BIT as a research advisor in their Home Affairs & Education team Oli has designed, implemented, and analysed a number of field and online trials, including a randomised controlled trial involving 1,000 crime hotspots in London. Other projects include reducing household carbon emissions, improving sensitive document handling in the civil service and increasing handwashing in Bangladesh. Before working at BIT, Oli spent four years working as a management consultant, where he specialised in providing executive remuneration advice to global corporate firms. Oli has a MSc in Behavioural Science from the London School of Economics and a MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. In his Master’s dissertation, he explored whether social norms and social identity theory could help promote pro-environmental food choices.

Crawley photo copy

Jenny Crawley


Jenny Crawley is a researcher in Energy and Buildings at UCL Energy Institute. She works on the built environment aspects of the transition to a low carbon energy system: heating, cooling, energy flexibility and building performance. Jenny carries out applied technical and socio-technical analysis: example topics include heat pump flexibility, building performance quantification, and the effects of electrical load shifting on vulnerable consumers.


Daniel Lopez-Garcia


Daniel is Research Manager at Octopus Energy’s Centre for Net Zero, a research unit that delivers pioneering research to make the future energy system a reality. Daniel’s interest lies in the intersection between energy, technology, sustainability and human behaviour. He manages and is responsible for supporting several research areas at Centre for Net Zero, spanning flexibility, energy markets, electric vehicles, heat pumps and cities. He also helps design real-world trials that the Centre runs on these topics. Previously, Daniel worked at Aurora Energy Research and Accenture, where he contributed directly to the delivery of power market forecasts for European countries, developed research about green hydrogen production and its viability, and helped develop cloud solutions for customer relationship management. Daniel has also published literature about the development of solar energy technologies and holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Futures at Imperial College London.


Adam Smith


Adam works for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero on securing the UK’s supply chain of heat pumps and their components through the Heat Pump Investment Accelerator to encourage manufacturers to invest in the UK and expand the UK’s capacity to domestically produce heat pumps. He is also working on how we encourage the introduction of smart heating devices, including through regulation, to benefit consumers, industry and energy networks.

About the partner

Centre for Net Zero

Centre for Net Zero is an impact-driven research unit that delivers pioneering research to make the future energy system a reality.

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