It is our contention that installer productivity, the quality and attractiveness of employment as a heat pump installer and the appeal of heat pump householders. For instance, innovations that increase productivity for installers may also increase the appeal for householders.
This is a four-month project. At the end of the first phase, roughly eight weeks in, we intend to identify promising ideas from which we will select one to test and potentially scale.
We believe that heat pumps will be instrumental to decarbonising UK homes and meeting net-zero targets.
Right now, installing a heat pump is very costly with the price tag often exceeding £10,000. Our research on the skills gap in the sector also shows that wages for heat pump installers are no higher than the wages for gas installers. At the same time, the experience of householders who wish to acquire and install a heat pump is often long and arduous putting many people off.
Improving installer productivity and the householder experience has the potential to reduce costs, improve wages for installers and make the householder experience of getting a heat pump more agreeable.
In our work so far in the sustainable future mission, we have mostly focused on the journey and experience of getting a heat pump from the customer’s perspective. Now we want to get a better understanding of the installation process from the perspective of installers to identify where the gaps are and what we can do to improve the process.
The aim of this project is to identify areas for innovation that Nesta can design, test and scale.
We will use a variety of methods to do this, with members from Nesta’s sustainable future mission as well as from our design practice. We are also tapping into the expertise and knowledge of Kevin Pocock, the team’s resident in our sustainable future mission. Kevin is a low-carbon heating practitioner working with our team for the next few months.
We will begin by undertaking interviews with heat pump installers to get a better understanding of the whole process of installing a heat pump from an installer’s perspective.
Through doing this, we will learn about the pain points in the process, and we’ll use this understanding to think about opportunities for improvement. We will use ideation techniques drawn from design thinking to explore these opportunity areas with others in the sustainable future team and use the outcome of this work to start developing solutions.
In the next stages of the project, we will develop one or several of the ideas further. If we have time, we’ll create prototypes to test these solutions and gather feedback from real users. If any seem promising, we’ll work independently or with partners to explore routes to further testing and even scaling .