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Reducing Payback

Increasing the uptake of RES is crucial if Europe is to achieve ambitious energy and emission reduction targets.  However, despite steep increases in energy prices the uptake of domestic RES is still very limited.  The initial investment required means that the payback period frequently exceeds 20 years, which is a clear disincentive to homeowners.  This is mainly due to the cost associated with integration of RES within domestic heating and hot water systems, and is especially relevant if a combination of RES are deployed.

The efficiency of these technologies is also often limited due to the inherent mismatch between energy supply and consumption;  this can be overcome by deploying a suitably sized thermal store.  However, this is often difficult due to space constraints in existing homes.  Furthermore, effective combination controls and sheer number of types of systems available. These factors limit the appeal of RES and virtually prevent customers from adding capacity over time.

The main objective of SmartHeat is to develop a platform technology for domestic heating and hot water that enables easy and cost effective integration and use of multiple RES.

The key enabling technologies include: i) a common intelligent control systems capable of effectively utilising a combination of RES and thermal stores; ii) a modular phase change material stores that enables increased thermal storage within existing buildings. We will be able to demonstrate up to 50% reduction in installation costs for a combination of RES; iii) a 20% performance improvement for a typical air source heat pump and up to 25% for a solar thermal systems.

As a result we will be able to improve payback by up to 50% for a wide range of RES heating and hot water system combinations.


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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA-Research Executive Agency ( [FP7/2007-2013] under grant agreement number 243447.


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