Home heating is responsible for about 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions. As such, heat pump installers are the green workforce who’ll be critical in our journey to net zero. However, there are currently only a few thousand heat pump installers in the UK compared to 130,000 of their counterparts who work in gas.
To help the sector grow, we need to know more about the experience of existing heat pump installers. It’s important to understand what’s going well, the challenges installers face and the areas where innovation can help drive progress. This is becoming particularly important as home heating decarbonisation becomes more prominent on the policy agenda and the urgency for heat pump adoption grows.
The aim of this project is to gather the opinions of those currently installing heat pumps in the UK through a survey led by the installer community. We’re working in collaboration with two industry experts – Emma Bohan, general manager at IMS Heat Pumps, and Nathan Gambling, an educator, industry expert and host of the BetaTalk podcast and director of Jouln. The value of this collaboration is in the bringing together of industry experience from Emma and Nathan, and the practical knowledge of survey design and data analysis that Nesta offers.
In October 2023, we launched a survey of the heat pump installer sector. The survey was run in collaboration with Emma Bohan, general manager at IMS Heat Pumps, and Nathan Gambling, educator, industry expert, host of the BetaTalk podcast and director of Jouln.
The survey took roughly 20 minutes to complete and covered a range of issues relevant to the installation and maintenance of domestic heat pumps. By the time we closed the survey in late November 356 heat pump installers had completed the survey. We’re grateful to all those who were able to make the time to complete it.
Depending on the responses people gave, they were asked different questions pertinent to their experience. You can explore all the questions we asked and the different routes through the survey on our heat pump installer survey Miro board.
In order to encourage participation in the survey, we ran an opt in prize draw. The prizes were sourced by Emma and Nathan, who drew on their breadth of industry contacts to obtain prizes from a range of companies in the sector. Around 40 companies donated prizes meaning we could offer more than 100 prizes in total. Huge thanks to our prize donors and to Emma and Nathan for making this possible.
The prize draw took place in late December 2023. The prizes included tools, golf days and overseas factory visits. The first prize winner was offered an ActivAir Plus heat pump package from Sunamp and Trianco, worth over £6,000. Another was offered a 5kw Vaillant air-to-water heat pump from Wolseley, worth over £3,600. All prize winners have now been contacted via email (check your spam if you entered, just in case!).
We’ve downloaded and anonymised all the data from the survey and devised a plan for analysis. Not only will we be looking at the breakdown of responses to individual questions, we’ll also look at how different groups of people responded to the survey and tracking how responses to one part of the survey affected people’s responses to other parts.
Colleagues with specialist quantitative skills Benoit Siberdt and Daniel Lewis will lead this analysis. They’ll clean the data to remove irregularities and create bespoke code to generate results.
When that’s completed, likely by mid-February, we’ll interpret the analysed data and write up the findings in a comprehensive report. We aim to finish this by mid-April. We’ll then launch the report and work with partners to disseminate findings in other, more digestible, formats. This will include data visualisation, webinars and social media as well as meetings with partners from industry and government.
We look forward to sharing and discussing the findings.