Walsall Housing Group (CP1138)

Comparison of Two Electric Heating Solutions for a Tower Block – CP1138
Lead agency WHG
Other partners
Project summary

This project will install and compare 2 different electric heating solutions in a tower block with no mains gas. One group of 10 flats will receive novel “lower energy” on-peak electric Enviroheat HET EconoRad heaters and replacement EconoCylinder immersion tanks, combined with Switchee smart thermostats – which learns residents’ occupancy patterns, to adaptively control heating even if the householders don’t interact with it – and Honeywell room thermostats. The other 10 flats will receive new Elnur storage heaters also coupled with Switchee smart thermostats and VCharge dynamic charge dynamo. As an Ovo technology, this works with Ovo’s Economy 10 tariff to control charging to heat at set temperatures and times, with weather correction. Combining Switchee with both technologies is a novel innovation. 5 control properties will be monitored in comparison, receiving Switchee for monitoring purposes only.

NEA is funding the addition of Switchee smart thermostats to a pre-existing heating improvement trial, and a contribution towards costs of WiFi connection of the block to allow the communication systems of the heating and Switchee controls to function.

Evaluation Methodology

Interviews will be conducted with all households to collect patterns of behaviour and previous energy expenditure, as well as thermal comfort and experiences of using their old heating systems.  Thermal loggers will monitor temperature and humidity in the living room and main bedroom. Temperature and humidity data will also be collected by the Switchee smart thermostat in the hall for comparison. Energy use by the household and performance of the new heating will be monitored by logging the electricity input to both the heating and household circuits using current clamps, and 5 households in each group will have sub-meters installed on the heating circuit. Monitoring will start in Autumn 2017, shortly before installation of the new heating, and continue until late spring 2018, when loggers will be collected and final interviews carried out about the residents’ experiences of using their new heating system.

Project Outcomes

  • NEA is interested in learning more about the performance of both novel heating systems.
  • Enviroheat claim their HET heaters are the most energy efficient and cost-effective on the market.
  • Ovo claims that VCharge controls when and how warm storage heaters heat, so supplementary heating is no longer required, and ‘optimises’ heaters when they charge, to reduce energy bills.
  • The usefulness of Switchee dashboard data to the landlord will also be determined.
  • The performance and acceptability of these systems will be determined in a sample of social housing properties, in comparison to each other and control properties.
Region in which project will be delivered West Midlands
Local Authority areas(s) / key locations in which project will be delivered Walsall
Details of technologies being trialled (for Technical Innovation Fund only) EconoRad HET on-peak radiators and EconoCylinder immersion tank – Enviroheat;

Elnur storage heaters;

VCharge dynamo – Ovo Energy;

Switchee smart thermostat.

Funding provided

By NEA By delivery agents
Grant amount requested Match Gap
£16,520 £0 £77,638 + £16,500 (WiFi connection)

Eligible households assisted

NEA grant with gap funding Match Total
20 (+ 5 controls) 0 20 (+ 5 controls)

Download the final report here

Published on 30-04-2019
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