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Blog Post 3 May 2022

From flats to terraced houses: heat pumps are suitable for all property types

It’s a question we often get asked at Energy Saving Trust: are heat pumps suitable for any house type? If you think you know the answer, take our quiz below, or keep reading to find out more.

Many people think that you need a house with a garden or a fully insulated property to switch to a low carbon heat pump, but a recent research project has shown that all housing types – and ages – are in fact suitable for heat pumps.

Here, we share the findings of the UK Government funded project to prove that heat pumps can be successfully installed in homes from every style and era.

Why heat pumps?

The aim of the Electrification of Heat demonstration project, funded by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is to better understand how we can speed up the rollout of heat pumps in homes across the UK.

Tens of thousands of heat pumps have already been installed across the UK. Powered by electricity, which is becoming increasingly low carbon as more renewable sources are connected to the gird, heat pumps are already extremely low carbon heating options.

This means that heat pumps have a crucial role to play in helping to decarbonise our heating systems, which is important if the UK is to meet its net zero target in 2050.

About the project

The aim of the project was to install up to 750 heat pumps in three regions across Great Britain:

  • South East of Scotland – led by Warmworks working with Energy Saving Trust and Changeworks.
  • Newcastle – led by E.ON working with Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle.
  • South East of England – led by Ovo Energy working with Kaluza, RetrofitWorks, Parity Projects and SunAmp.

Between July 2020 and October 2021, a total of 742 heat pumps were installed across these three regions in a wide range of house types, reflecting all the different properties across the country. Three main types of heat pump were installed: air source, ground source and hybrid heat pumps.

The results are in…

From flats to semis and mid-terraces to early 20th century detached homes, the project successfully installed heat pumps in every type and age of property targeted.

These results have busted the myth that heat pumps aren’t suitable for all property types, although the project did find that there was a greater challenge in designing heat pump systems for older homes (pre-1945).

However, 163 heat pumps were successfully installed in these older pre-1945 properties, showing that these challenges can be overcome.

So, no matter what type of home you have or how old it is, a heat pump should work for you. Check out the graph below to see the breakdown of heat pump types by property type – and see if you can spot your house type.

Interested in finding out more about heat pumps? Check out our heat pump hub, which covers how they work, the different types available, as well as real-life case studies of people who are living with one.

Last updated: 29 April 2022