Heat pumps

August 2021

Suitability of heat pumps for Scottish homes

A detailed report by Nesta (A UK innovation foundation formerly known as the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and Energy Systems Catapult (set up by Government to boost innovation in specific sectors and help drive future economic growth), examines the suitability of heat pumps for different categories of Scottish homes, particularly in relation to their energy efficiency and other work that might be required to make heat pumps effective.

One of our goals for a sustainable future is supporting a 28 per cent reduction in household emission by 2030. It is an ambitious target and we know that the current trajectory of decarbonisation will not get us there. We need to do more and we need to do it at pace to  get anywhere near this level of reduction of emissions. It will require wholesale change to the way we heat our homes, away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. One of the problems, however, is that mains gas, which makes up 81 per cent of Scottish household heating fuel (11 per cent use electricity and 5 per cent use oil), is a very effective way to heat poorly insulated and drafty homes. And the UK’s homes are some of the worst performing in Europe.

To help us better understand the issues and to begin to identify solutions and areas for innovation, we worked with Energy Systems Catapult to assess the suitability of ground and air source heat pumps for the Scottish housing stock. Heat pumps have already been identified as a viable alternative to gas boilers in many homes.

Read the report

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April 2021

Much of the discussion about reducing carbon emissions from domestic heating refers to the benefits of replacing oil or gas boilers with (usually air source) heat pumps.  Several independent organisations offer advice to householders about the choice and installation of heat pumps, and we collected links to some of this advice

Energy Saving Trust

Home Energy Scotland

Renewable Energy Hub (comprehensive, has links to suppliers)

Changeworks (connected to HES, lightweight)


An interesting variation of the heat pump concept is a sea-source installation in Ullapool, which was visited and described in 2017 by Martin Sherring.

Read Martin's account

 

 

 

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