Vaillant Heat Pump Challenge: Kevin McCloud searches for pioneering heat pump installations for new filming project

John and Helen told Kevin McCloud they needed to build a new home that could meet their enforced new requirements
The Channel 4 TV star is challenging homeowners to share their heat pump installations (Image credit: Channel 4)

Vaillant has teamed up with Kevin McCloud to invite homeowners to showcase their heat pump installations in a wide variety of homes across the UK.

The Vaillant Heat Pump Challenge is looking for innovative and intriguing examples of both ground and air source heat pumps where many may have initially thought it wouldn’t be feasible or effective.

The company and the TV star are challenging homeowners to share their heat pump installations and demonstrate the wide variety of homes for which heat pumps are possible. For example, Vaillant recently installed a system at a Georgian former mill in Weymouth, Dorset.

What kind of project is McCloud searching for?

Vaillant highlighted Meadows Mill House as a prime example of the types of air and ground source heat pumps it is looking for.

It uses the River Wey to generate heat for the historic buildings. The heat pumps are connected to specifically designed loop collectors in the river which run through and around the mill.

Thermal energy is then absorbed from the river and converted to usable heating and hot water. The surplus hydroelectricity generated by the mill, previously sold back to the grid, is now used to power the heat pumps, meaning the project is effectively able to run off-grid.

The projected lifetime fuel cost saving is an estimated £32,499.

A birds eye view of Meadow Hill House with the River Wey to the right

The River Wey can be seen to the right of Meadow Hill House, which was used to generate heat for the historic home (Image credit: Google Maps)

Which projects will be selected for filming?

Henrik Hansen, Managing Director of Vaillant Group, UK and Ireland, said: “We’re looking for those projects where installing an air source heat pump wasn’t perhaps the easiest or most obvious solution, but it has delivered a great result for the homeowners and their property.

“An older cottage, an apartment building with a heat pump on a balcony or Victorian terrace, for example. We know this type of install is happening across the country, so we want to highlight those times people made the decision and invested in low-carbon heating, maybe despite people saying it wouldn’t work.

The winning projects will have the chance to film with British property expert and presenter, Kevin McCloud.

He said: “I’ve spent much of my career working with visionary people who have been able to realise their dreams — no matter how ambitious — by building extraordinary homes, despite those around them saying it’s not possible.

“We’re now in a similar situation in the home energy sector where some have enthusiastically embraced heat pump technology while some people are fearful about reliability and suitability, or simply don’t understand what they are, how they work, and the efficiency benefits they offer.”

When will the winners be revealed?

Entrants were asked to create a 30-second video describing their heat pump project and share it on Twitter or Facebook using #VaillantHPChallenge and tagging @VaillantUK in the post.

Entries closed on March 24th (although the entry form is still on the website) and to be in with a chance, all entries had to be for UK homes, either in the process of, or have completed the installation stage, and use a Vaillant heat pump as the main source of hot water and heating.

The shortlisted entries will be announced imminently and reviewed by a panel of industry judges,including Kevin McCloud.

The three winning projects will then be filmed, giving entrants the opportunity to discuss the heat pump system in more detail with Kevin.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.