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Demand for Heat Pumps has Surged by 28% in 2021, Research Shows

a timber clad self build home with an air source heat pump
(Image credit: Allan Corfield Architects)

There has been a 28% rise in the installations of heat pumps in 2021 as demand for the technology ‘skyrockets’, according to new research.

Rated People’s findings follow on from its Home Improvement Trends Report this year, which revealed that 57% of homeowners want to be more eco-friendly when it comes to their energy use. Heat pumps are a renewable heating source, and can have comparatively low running costs when compared with direct electric heating. 

While Rated People’s report identified that only 3% of UK homeowners currently own a heat pump, a sharp rise is expected this year. 

The findings are supported by data released from the Heat Pump Association (HPA) earlier this year which revealed almost double the amount of orders for heat pumps have been placed with suppliers in 2021 to meet growing demand.

Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People, said: “The fuel we use to actually heat our homes can make a big difference to a property’s carbon footprint. This is where heat pumps can play a huge role.

“Like many sustainable home improvements, the upfront costs can be large as the technology is still developing. However, the lifetime savings of switching to heat pumps for those able to bear the cost can be significant.”

(MORE: Heat pumps will be half the cost of hydrogen boilers)

Demand Will be Scaled Up

Despite growing demand for heat pumps, less than 200,000 heat pumps are thought to have been installed in UK homes since 2000, and around 27,000 are currently being installed each year. 

The government has pledged for 600,000 to be installed per year by 2028, but concerns exist over the scale of this ambition. 

a slinkie trench for a ground source heat pump

A slinkie trench for a ground source heat pump (Image credit: Kensa Heat Pumps)

David Hilton, director of Heat and Energy Ltd and a contributor to Homebuilding & Renovating, said in November: “There’s a huge infrastructure challenge, and huge questions to be answered. Who’s going to manufacture them? Do we have enough electricity to supply all these pumps to begin with? Can the industry support that level of rollout?”

In April, scientists from the University of Sussex says the UK needs a team of ‘heat pump influencers’ to help meet this goal, which could arrive through climate-conscious home improvers sharing their stories of using heat pumps.

This claim follows a study where one in three homes in Finland which have been fitted with a heat pump claim “active users” posting on internet forums about their experience were a crucial factor in driving widespread acceptance of the technology.

“Robust government policy support for heat pumps is needed in the UK, but our study also shows that the strong user engagement in the Finnish heat pump adoption was one of key factors explaining the successful diffusion of heat pumps there in contrast with the continuing struggles in the UK,” said lead author Dr Mari Martiskainen.

(MORE: Air source heat pump costs explained)

The HPA is preparing a new training route to upskill heat pump installers, with courses expected to begin later this year.

Jack is News Editor of Homebuilding & Renovating and strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders and renovators. Having bought his first home in 2013, he and his wife have renovated almost every room and recently finished a garden renovation. Jack reports on all of the latest news that could affect your project.