Is THIS is the future of heat pump installation?

Total Heat Pump Installation Solution (THIS) is a new software package and supporting app promising to revolutionise the heat pump sector. We probed a little deeper into what exactly the software entails.

BEIS awards grant funding to Thormer Solutions to develop a revolutionary new heat pump app for installers and their customers.

Part-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Heat Pump Ready Programme, under Stream 2, THIS seeks to make heat pump installation a simpler and easier-to-understand process – for both installers and their customers.  

The Heat Pump Ready (HPR) Programme forms part of BEIS’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s. 

Currently, in the early stages of development, THIS is the brainchild of Thormer Solutions which was formed by Griff Thomas, MD at GTEC, and an expert in software design for the heating industry, Paul Harmer from Inventive Software. Paul is also CIPHE’s lead technical consultant. 

Making heat pump installation easier 

For heating engineers, THIS is designed to make heat pump surveying, specification, installation and commissioning far easier. For consumers, THIS seeks to enhance their experience of the process; from choosing an installer and visualising what the system may look like, to ongoing operational satisfaction. 

Griff, who undertakes renewable technology site visits for a number of governmental and non-governmental schemes, said: “The heat pump sector is growing rapidly but still relatively new. In my capacity inspecting installations, I see a lot of issues that could be avoided if installers had better access to calculation tools and design support software – easy drawing to design functionality, for example. 

“THIS aims to simplify the process of heat pump specification, installation and commissioning; everything is available through one app, including automated design tools. End-users will have access to the very latest web technologies, such as AR, so they can get a better understanding of the look and feel of their finished system. All paperwork will be stored in one place, reducing installer admin and providing peace of mind for their customers.” 

Tailor the app to business needs 

Offering a host of benefits for every part of the supply chain, Thormer is currently looking for industry representatives and stakeholders from across the breadth of the building services engineering and related sectors to help shape the development of the project – from heating engineers through to manufacturers, trade associations, scheme owners and DNOs. 

Stakeholders who could benefit from the potential of THIS will be given the opportunity to put forward ideas to tailor the app to suit business needs. Heat pump manufacturers, for example, could adapt the software to the specifics of their technologies. 

What is THIS? 

THIS is an all-encompassing integrated software package, supported by a user-friendly app which is being developed to streamline the heat pump installation process for installers and their customers. 

For heat pump installers and specifiers THIS will: 

Provide a one-stop for the survey, design (automated, with the option of manual amendments), installation and commissioning of heat pump systems. 

·         Providing a state-of-the-art solution for measuring a building rapidly reducing survey time. 

·         Utilise the latest technologies, such as 2d/3d modelling and AR/VR to create a fully interactive and intuitive system design. 

·         Provide Interactive layout diagrams and annotated component locations for ease of installation. 

·         Include all relevant technical information. 

·         Remove the hassle of multiple lots of paperwork whilst enhancing consumer protection. 

For consumers THIS will: 

·         De-mystify the process of choosing a heat pump using AR/VR to demonstrate how the system will look and feel once installed. 

·         Link end-users with a network of heat pump installers. 

·         Be one point of contact – for installers, energy providers and general information, including approved green finance products and grants. 

·         Provide a fully traceable journey of their heat pump; from initial guidance to installation and commissioning. 

·         Provide a secure location for all related paperwork, such as warranties and service history. 

·         Suggest and allow access to the best energy tariffs. 

We spoke further to Griff Thomas, managing director of GTEC, about THIS.  

What you have observed to date in terms of what is hindering the flow of installers into the sector? 

“Complexity! Compared with gas or oil central heating, there are so many additional things to think about and check when it comes to a heat pump; even before you lift a spanner. Overall, there are about nine different ‘touchpoints’ that have to be dealt with before anything can happen – accurate heat loss calculations, for example. Many more than when replacing or fitting a gas appliance.  

Why will the app help to overcome these problems? 

“THIS will streamline all these touchpoints into one platform to make the whole process seamless and on par with what is required to fit a gas appliance. The app will do the hard work for you, ensuring heat pump schemes are correctly designed and specified, making life much easier for installers, while providing customers with peace of mind and more generally raising standards in the heat pump sector.  

“Everything from measuring up to paperwork is covered by the app, which utilises the latest 2d/3d modelling and AR/VR to create a fully interactive and intuitive system design.”