Westward and Kensa score a first for renewable energy
A major programme of investment in renewable energy by Westward has resulted in a first for social housing thanks to a pioneering system devised by heating firm Kensa Heat Pumps.
Croft House in Holsworthy, North Devon, is the first housing association block of flats in the UK to be installed with individual ground source heat pumps connected to a communal ground array.
The innovative ‘micro district heating scheme’ technology devised by Kensa has allowed these to be fitted inside all 20 one-bed flats over five blocks.
The work was funded with a grant from Ready for Retrofit and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding from EDF Energy and is seen as a blueprint for future social housing schemes.
Joshua Jackson, Head of Investment, Westward Housing comments: “Kensa’s products have been proven to perform efficiently and effectively and we have already received glowing praise from our customers regarding the real savings they are making on their electricity bills since the ground source heat pumps have been installed.”
Croft House is a scheme designated for elderly residents. Its vulnerable demographic was seen as a priority for a heating system upgrade due to the poor levels of comfort and high heating bills delivered by their current night storage system.
Customers at the Croft House development have described the process of the installation works as a “pleasure”.
“The work has proceeded very well; any task that needed to be done has been done without question. Congratulations to all – it has been a pleasure,” commented Jean Gregory, 82, who has lived at Croft House for 22 years.
Fellow resident Jim Porter, 57, who has been a Westward tenant for eight months, is excited about the savings that can be made from the new ground source heat pump system and estimates that he can cut his heating bills by 50-60 per cent.
He said: “I have checked my meter for the last month and it was £20, whereas it was £40 or £50 a month before. Whatever heating system you had before, you are bound to save lots of money with the ground source heat pumps.”
Deirdre Winfield, 83, and her son Robin, 59, live in separate flats at Croft House and both moved in within the last year and say the new system is a vast improvement on storage heaters.
“I have always been used to central heating. I am happy with the performance. It is a very nice steady gentle heat and easy to control, I am very pleased to have it,” said Deirdre.
It adds up to a landmark programme of retrofit works coordinated by Kensa Heat Pumps and Westward Housing which had seen 50 other homes in Devon and Cornwall upgraded with ground source heat pumps. These were co-funded through Renewable Heat Incentive and RHPP Competition.
Westward Housing and Kensa Heat Pumps’ retrofit scheme at Croft House was shortlisted at the recent Energy Efficiency & Renewables Awards 2014 for Commercial Project of the Year.
Kensa and Westward Housing were able to access funding from an £8 million Ready for Retrofit (RfR) programme, available to those in the South West, to part-fund the heating upgrade in Croft House.
In addition to the Ready for Retrofit grant, Croft House was also eligible for ECO funding, provided on this occasion by EDF Energy, and is the first ever district ground source heat pump scheme to receive an ECO subsidy through the Carbon Saving Community Obligation stream, due to the rural location of the site.
Managed by Kensa Heat Pumps and aided by local drillers and contractors, the micro district scheme employed at Croft House consists of a series of ten boreholes serving 20 flats; one borehole serves two flats, and thus two Kensa ground source heat pumps.
Joshua comments: “Kensa have demonstrated excellent contract management and customer service through the active participation in roadshows, resident events, home visits and the provision of educational literature on how to get the best out of the new heating systems. This element of any renewable installation is critical to the success of the project and maximises the benefits to the customer through greater savings, but also for the Landlord by reducing call outs and support.”
Kensa’s Commercial Director, Chris Davis, said: “The carbon savings, bill savings, maintenance savings and installation savings brought by the innovative micro district heating scheme and Kensa Shoebox Twin provide a long term solution with immediate benefits to all stakeholders. This design is unique and Croft House is the first example of this new category for ground source heat pumps in retrofit social housing flats, which previously were inaccessible to ground source technology.”