Oxford Brookes University part of £3.35m pilot project to install heat pumps in Oxford
A ground-breaking research project that will see up to 150 clean air-source heat pumps installed in Oxford homes is being supported by Oxford Brookes University.
The Clean Heat Streets project aims to explore how barriers to heat pump uptake, such as the high cost of installation, can be overcome by taking a street-by-street, rather than individual home, approach.
The project will see 150 heat pumps installed in participating households in the Rose Hill area of Oxford, funded by a grant of £3.35m from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) which is part of the Government’s Heat Pump Ready funding programme.
The consortium consists of Samsung, Oxford Brookes University, University of Oxford, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), GenGame, Passiv UK, Alto Energy and Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon group.
The project builds on the work of a six-month feasibility study which used Oxford Brookes University’s innovative local area energy mapping approach (LEMAP) to identify suitable homes for installing heat pumps, and explored the key barriers to heat pump uptake in the Rose Hill area of Oxford.
Professor Rajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change, and Oxford Brookes University’s lead on the project, said: “We are pleased to partner in this innovative project which aims to demonstrate high-density deployment of heat pumps in a neighbourhood. Our spatially-based LEMAP tool has helped to identify suitable streets for heat pump deployment in Rose Hill. The Clean Heat Streets project will ultimately help to create a more streamlined approach to installations through establishing a network of skilled installers, as well as saving time, money and resources – all of which are key barriers when trying to install heat pump technology.”
The Clean Heat Streets project is looking for households from Rose Hill to take part in the pilot.
Expressions of interest are welcome from any type of tenure, including homeowners, private rented tenants or landlords, and social housing tenants or landlords.
Cutting costs for consumers to reach net zero
Installation of an air-source heat pump typically costs the average UK household between £7,000 and £10,000. The high costs are due to the time taken to install them and the complexities involved. Households taking part in the pilot project will only pay around £3,000, thanks to subsidies.
Air-source heat pumps are around three or four times more efficient than boilers, due to them giving out more heat than the electric that is used to run them. 
Oxford has an ambition to become a net zero carbon city by 2040, a decade ahead of the national target. In order to achieve this, tackling Oxford’s building emissions is key, with buildings responsible for roughly 60% of emissions.
It has been predicted that over 30,000 air-source heat pumps need to be installed across the city by 2040 to help meet the target.
In February 2021, Oxford Brookes University joined leaders from across the city to support the ambition for Oxford to become a net zero city by 2040.