SSE Home Services - case study

What was the aim?

The KTP was set up to develop the expertise and capability within SSE to service the emerging market in renewable and low carbon heating systems. 

Why was Strathclyde chosen?

The Energy Systems Research Unit (ESRU) within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has been a world-leading centre in the modelling and analysis of buildings and their energy systems for over 30 years and was a natural source of expertise for the home services group. 

What knowledge was transferred?

The home services team lacked knowledge in the detailed modelling of buildings and their energy systems, particularly more modern systems featuring heat pumps, biomass boilers or combined heat and power (CHP). The ESRU team helped the KTP company select appropriate software and set up a modelling capability to assist in the design and evaluation of so-called ‘hybrid’ energy systems: energy systems for buildings typically featuring both a conventional energy source such as a boiler and a renewable energy technology such as solar thermal collectors. 

How was the knowledge transferred?

The project was led by a KTP associate, Lucas Lira. The KTP associate formed the link between the academics at ESRU and the company and was the means by which ESRU’s expertise was transferred to company staff. In collaboration with a company and academic supervisor Lucas developed and ran the project including developing the project deliverables and delivering training to SSE staff. Lucas was a former student at Strathclyde, gaining an MSc on the Engineering Faculty’s Renewable Energy Systems and Environment course.  

What was achieved? 

By the end of the KTP, SSE home services had a fully functioning design capability for low-carbon heating systems, which was deployed on the company’s landmark Greenwatt way zero carbon housing project. The KTP led directly to SSE setting up their renewable heating service  – tasked with rolling out design and installation services for domestic low-carbon heating systems across the UK.  The project also made the shortlist for the 2012 KTP Scotland awards.

What was said about the collaboration?

SSE’s, Steve Storey, said:

We are really excited about the launch of our Renewable Installation capabilities.  After a year of field trials with our customers and staff we have developed a detailed understanding of the technologies and best methods of installation.  The response to date has been very promising and we are looking forward to offering our customers cost effective alternatives to Oil and LPG Heating.

ESRU’s Paul Strachan, added:

The Energy Systems Research Unit at the University of Strathclyde has been undertaking research and developing software for evaluating energy system performance for many years. The partnership with SSE, which began in 2009 with the establishment of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, has involved the development of tools which take this complex system analysis and translates it, via a simple user interface, into tailored energy solutions for the home. This activity provides an excellent demonstration of how industry and academia can work together effectively to put research to a practical use.

Related links

Greenwatt way zero carbon housing project

SSE's renewable heating service