Research reveals heating controls can reduce gas use by 10-12 per cent amid record price hikes

30 Nov 2021

  • New study reveals replacing a standard room thermostat with an on/off load compensation thermostat can reduce gas use by 10 per cent over the heating season
  • Alternatively, switching to a directly modulating load or weather compensation thermostat can deliver 12 per cent gas reductions
  • This comes as UK gas prices soar by 40 per cent to all-time highs
  • The research shows the significant role that heating controls can play to reduce energy bills and improve home efficiency.

As the heating industry continues to rise to the decarbonisation challenge and gas prices hit a record new high1, new research by BEAMA has revealed the impact that heating controls can have on fuel reductions – helping to negate gas use by as much as 10-12 per cent.

Launched today (1st December 2021), the research2 follows a unique collaboration between BEAMA, the trade association for energy infrastructure technologies, Salford University, the OpenTherm Association and a number of leading manufacturers.

Together, the remit was to quantify the benefits of heating controls in reducing fuel consumption, recognising the surprising lack of evidence available in the wider market.

The study formed two sets of complex, seven-hour tests which were conducted independently at Salford University Energy House and designed to assess and compare the energy saving potential of directly modulating room thermostats.


The first phase was based around the scenario of a typical 30kW combi boiler being installed and the impact of a range of different controls - from a basic on/off model, through to load and weather compensation advanced thermostats.


Next, the second phase repeated these tests but with a less oversized boiler (24kW) that was tuned to suit the system, carefully balanced radiators to DT20 and lower flow temperature - as will be required in the Part L 2022 regulations - to optimise condensing efficiency.

The subsequent results offer a fascinating demonstration of the impact that small changes in installation practices, and the use of more advanced heating controls can make in reducing fuel consumption.

Among the headline statistics, the study found that something as simple as replacing a standard room thermostat with one that controls the boiler using proportional on/off load compensation can reduce the gas used by 10 per cent over the heating season.

Where the boiler and control are able to talk to each other through a suitable communication protocol a directly modulating load or weather compensating room thermostat standard can be installed to replace a standard one, delivering a 12 per cent saving.

Speaking about the research, Colin Timmins, Director of Building Technologies at BEAMA said: “As Government lays out its plans for decarbonising heat in our homes it remains critical that we look at cost effective ways to make our homes more energy efficient, while also futureproofing them for future low carbon heating. Better heating controls provide a route to achieve both of these.

“Our research provides a compelling validation of the benefits of heating controls in fuel consumption. As we go forward in the challenge ahead, we hope this important research will help to fuel the fire for heating controls and provide more informed decision making in the strategy for low carbon heating systems.”

The report underpins BEAMA’s ‘Saving Energy with Heating Controls’ householder guide3, which offers a raft of useful insights and tips around all aspects of the sector.

Rob Whitney, Senior Sales Development Specialist from Resideo, one of the manufacturers involved in the study, commented: “With this winter seeing fuel prices across the country reach record levels, homeowners will be more aware than ever of the increasing cost of their energy bills. With this in mind, advice on methods to make the home more energy efficient could not be more valuable – and this vital research proves the impact heating controls can play in this.

“Armed with this knowledge, there is clearly a wealth of opportunity for the installer to sell alternative heating control products with boilers, helping their customers to save energy and money, while futureproofing in the process.”