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Flexibility of UK home heating demand: an exploration of reactions to algorithmic control

Hanmer, Clare; (2020) Flexibility of UK home heating demand: an exploration of reactions to algorithmic control. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Most future scenarios for decarbonising the UK energy system include a high proportion of homes with electric heat pumps. Shifting current heating demand patterns to the electricity network would increase peak demands. Demand management to reduce this peak can only be achieved if households are prepared to accept flexible running times for their central heating. This thesis investigates what this flexibility looks like from the perspective of the households involved. The investigation centres on a case study of a trial of hybrid heat pumps (gas boiler and air source heat pump) with smart controllers. The algorithmic controllers aim to satisfy both household requirements for warmth and energy network requirements for flexible demand. A practice theory approach is used to assess design assumptions about what residents want from their heating and how they interact with the controls. Household requirements are frequently more complex than achieving steady temperatures when the home is occupied. The thermal conditions considered appropriate vary with different activities. In many of the case study homes residents preferred different temperatures at different times of day. A desire for cool bedrooms may limit the potential for preheating during the night ahead of morning peak demand periods. Residents are concerned not only with temperature but also the running pattern of the heating. Some households noticed unwelcome consequences of changed running patterns (for example, noise at night time) and in some instances the residents did not understand how to adjust control settings to achieve their preferred response. High levels of manual operation were seen in some homes. A few households were frequently altering setpoints to stop or start the heating, rather than relying on automated, pre-scheduled settings. This mode of operation limits the potential for demand management based on predictable, scheduled heating operation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Flexibility of UK home heating demand: an exploration of reactions to algorithmic control
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097492
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