MORE than 700 homes in Lancashire and Yorkshire are to have their heating systems upgraded with ground source heat pumps in what has been called an “unprecedented investment”.
The landmark order by Together Housing is thought to be the largest of its kind in the UK; certainly, it’s the largest that manufacturer Kensa Heat Pumps has received. The company, along with its contractual division Kensa Contracting, will be delivering the £7.5 million over the next three years.
Together Housing is replacing storage heaters in a wide range of properties, from bedsits to maisonettes, low rise flats, houses and bungalows. The organisation estimates the investment will reduce lifetime carbon emissions by up to 40 tonnes in the bedsits to 200 tonnes in the three-bed flats; the project will result in massive emissions savings, comparable to a 5MW solar PV farm featuring 20,000 solar panels covering an area of 30 acres.
Moreover, tenant fuel bills are expected to be reduced by typically 30-50%, annually saving around £150 per bedsit up to £500 per house.
“This investment is a major commitment to ensuring our homes are affordable and energy efficient,” said Patrick Berry, managing director of Together Housing’s Energy Services. “Using renewable heat we can provide our customers with clean, comfortable, low cost energy and lower our carbon impact. It forms a part of Together Housing’s strategy to maximise the potential of renewable heat and power and we are delighted that the projects are now underway.”
The new ground source heat pump infrastructure will consist of a series of communal boreholes connected to individual heat pumps within each property. Kensa calls this system ‘ambient shared ground loop arrays’. The shared ground loop array infrastructure is deemed a district heating system, qualifying the project to be part-funded via the Energy Company Obligation and receive a 20-year income via the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.
Dr Matthew Trewhella, Kensa Contracting’s managing director, said: “Together Housing’s landmark investment in ground source heat pumps via the Procure Plus framework is a pioneering step by a social housing provider to address the emissions of existing housing stock and fuel poverty levels; their commitment to innovation, community, and the environment is a benchmark for fellow housing associations and new build developers to follow.
“Their commitment to renewable heat indicates a market transformation of the UK’s approach to heating infrastructure. Substantiated by Government’s Spring Statement announcement of a future homes standard mandating the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025, following the recent Committee for Climate Change report calling for the end of gas grid connections to new build housing in six years, this is the beginning of the end of inefficient heating infrastructure in the UK, on and off the gas grid.
“Political and building regulation pressures have built the case for ground source heat pump infrastructure in UK housing, and now the climate threat has built the urgency.”