Domestic Heat Demand Data: Accelerating the Deployment of Low Carbon Heat Technology

Nick Hay, Data Scientist, Advanced Infrastructure

In the pursuit of decarbonisation, heat is arguably one of the biggest challenges facing UK energy policy over the next few decades. With heat in buildings accounting for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, less than a quarter of a million of the UK’s 29 million homes are heated with low carbon technologies such as heat pumps.

As the country strives to transition to low carbon energy sources, understanding and effectively managing domestic heating becomes paramount. This is where Domestic Heat Demand Data steps in as a crucial tool in accelerating the deployment of Low Carbon Heat Technologies.

In this blog, we unpack the basics of domestic heat demand data, how it can be used to evidence the siting of low carbon heat technologies, and the opportunities the data can bring to both the public and private sectors.


Domestic Heat Demand Dataset in the LAEP+ Platform

What is Domestic Heat Demand Data?

Domestic Heat Demand Data refers to the collection and analysis of information about the amount of heat energy required for individual residential buildings. Domestic Heat Demand data estimates the space heating demand for domestic properties, calculating annual heat demand (kWh), energy use intensity (kWh/m2) and peak heating load (kWp).

How is Domestic Heat Demand calculated?

At Advanced Infrastructure we calculate heat demand using a building physics approach, modeling the data based on the building fabric and the geometry of a domestic property. Building fabric takes into account components and materials that the building itself is made of, such as the walls, floors, roof, windows, and doors. The Geometry of a building takes into account the height of a building and the total area of a building.

A heat loss figure is then calculated per building, based on these characteristics. By understanding the heat loss figure per property, this then provides an estimate of how much energy is needed for heating purposes, enabling informed decision-making for adopting low-carbon heat technologies and energy efficiency measures such as insulation.

How is Domestic Heat Demand Data visualised?

Domestic Heat Demand Data when used in the LAEP+ platform enables the data to be visualised down to building level with the use of interactive geospatial maps and charts to easily filter and analyse.

The image below shows how a user can visualise the Domestic Heat Demand dataset in a given region.

By identifying areas or properties with the highest heat demand, this can be combined with other datasets such as energy network data to analyse available headroom, and heat pump potential datasets to validate the suitability of domestic properties for the installation of heat pumps.

Shortlisting and evidencing suitable properties with the highest heat demand, combined with other supporting datasets can then inform decarbonisation plans and energy efficiency upgrades.

How can Heat Demand be reduced? 

Historically, many homes in the UK have relied on fossil fuels like natural gas alone to meet their household heat demand, contributing to carbon emissions and ever increasing energy bills. When domestic heat demand data is analysed, strategies to decrease this demand can be implemented to not only reduce carbon emissions but also cost savings on household energy bills. By implementing a combination of insulation improvements, adopting low carbon heating systems, and harnessing renewable energy sources, the energy-efficiency can be significantly improved which has a direct impact on the annual heat demand of a property.

How can Domestic Heat Demand Data be used to accelerate the deployment of low carbon heat technology?

Accurate heat demand data allows policymakers, local authority planners, and LCT providers such as heat pump installers to strategically plan the implementation of low carbon heat technologies by ensuring that technologies such as ground source heat pumps are deployed where they can have the most substantial impact, tackling issues such as fuel poverty and areas of high household emissions.

Without the right information, planners risk leaving some residents behind, spending excessively, losing revenues, and wasting time on excessive physical assessments.  

Access to granular building-level domestic heat demand data is now available and can support planners in identifying the priority properties, avoiding wasted effort, collaborating with key stakeholders, and evidencing the siting of low carbon technologies.

Collaborating and consulting across stakeholders to ensure optimum deployment of energy efficiency improvement plans is a big challenge without the right data and the digital tools to visualise those plans. 

Key outcomes of utilising Heat Demand Data

  1. Reducing fuel poverty: By understanding where to invest in improving the energy efficiency of homes, this can lead to substantial energy savings. Enhanced insulation, low carbon heating systems, and smart energy management can drastically reduce heat demand. These improvements not only decrease carbon footprints but also lower energy bills for households, thereby improving their economic well-being.
  1. Evidence Funding Allocation: Armed with comprehensive data, governments and local authorities can allocate resources more efficiently. This can involve targeted subsidies, incentives, and investments in areas where the greatest impact can be achieved.
  1. Technology Integration: Integrating low carbon heat technologies, such as heat pumps, solar thermal systems, and district heating, becomes more seamless with a deep understanding of heat demand patterns. Matching the right technology to the right location ensures optimal performance.
  1. Policy Formulation: Governments can design targeted policies that promote the adoption of low carbon heat technologies in regions with the highest demand. Incentives such as subsidies, tax breaks, and grants can be strategically offered.
  1. Consumer Awareness: For homeowners, understanding their household heat demand encourages energy-efficient behaviour. By realising the impact of their actions on both the environment and their bills, individuals are more likely to adopt energy-saving habits.

In Summary

Domestic Heat Demand Data has emerged as a powerful tool in understanding where change needs to happen in order to meet the UK’s Net Zero targets and to tackle rising energy bills. By providing insights into when and how heat is needed in residential buildings, this data accelerates the deployment of low carbon heat technologies. With informed planning, efficient resource allocation, and targeted policies, the UK can effectively transition toward a more sustainable energy future where the role of heat demand data in shaping our low carbon world becomes even more vital.

Where can I access Domestic Heat Demand Data?

At Advanced Infrastructure our innovative GIS tools, datasets and APIs are making it easier for private companies, local authorities, distribution network operators and consultants to plan local energy transitions and operate using low carbon power. Domestic Heat Demand is just one dataset in our GIS tool belt that can be combined with our cloud based net zero planning platform LAEP+ (Local Area Energy Planner Plus), or as a stand alone dataset available as an API or exportable file format.

To learn more about heat demand datasets or to request a demo, please get in touch using the contact form in this link.

Published on :
October 9, 2023
Nick Hay, Data Scientist, Advanced Infrastructure

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Nick Hay
Nick Hay