Global sales of heat pumps grew by 11% in 2022, according to the latest IEA analysis, marking a second year of double-digit growth for the central technology in the world’s transition to secure and sustainable heating. Across Europe, nearly 3 million heat pumps were sold in 2022, an increase of almost 40% compared with the previous year. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fuelled this trend as natural gas and electricity prices rose significantly, encouraging consumers to switch to heat pumps, which are far more efficient than conventional heating technologies.

Last year, the European Commission also announced its plans to double the deployment rate of heat pumps, as initially proposed in the IEA’s 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas. Most EU countries provide financial incentives that make this target achievable. An accelerated rollout of heat pumps would also contribute significantly to EU’s wider decarbonisation goals and improve air quality where coal and oil boilers are replaced.

While electrical heat-pumps can achieve up to 3x higher efficiency than traditional natural gas boilers, the achieved efficiency, energy and CO2 savings can significantly vary, based on the operational settings that have been configured by the installer at the time of commissioning. A variety of parameters (heating curve, DHW setpoint, etc.) are frequently set at very high values to make sure that the target home can offer a comfortable environment, even under extreme weather conditions or user requirements. The main disadvantages resulting from incorrect configurations can result in higher running costs and climate discomfort. The option of pairing a smart thermostat with a heat pump upgrade, can help to continuously optimize the performance of connected heat pumps, ensuring climate comfort while using minimal energy.

DOMX offers a smart heating controller and relevant services that up until now focused on legacy natural gas boilers. In the context of Use Case 15 of BIGG, DOMX has experimented with Energy efficiency and Demand Response services for natural gas consumers. Taking a step further, DOMX has recently developed a variant of their main product that can support the optimal management of electrical heat pumps as well.

The developed solution has been integrated with multiple HP vendors, including Midea, LG, Hitachi and others. Three pilot installations have been completed within BIGG, for testing the integration with HPs of different vendors. The engaged pilot users are using the DOMX smartphone application to remotely monitor and control their HVAC system. In addition, HVAC installation and maintenance companies can use the DOMX control dashboard to efficiently manage the HVAC systems of their customers, both during the commissioning and maintenance phases. Finally, the collected energy consumption and heating usage data can also be fed to the Energy supplier’s dashboard that has been developed through BIGG, in order to enable the delivery of Energy Efficiency and Flexibility Services for electricity consumers as well.