Pilot heating scheme in historic village set to tackle fuel poverty and halve residents’ energy bills

Pilot heating scheme in historic village set to tackle fuel poverty and halve residents’ energy bills

Housing association residents in a development of 49 one- and two-bedroom bungalows in Herefordshire are set to have their heating bills halved as work is underway on the installation of an innovative communal ground source heating system.

Burton Gardens is situated just a short walk from the centre of the picturesque rural village of Weobley, part of the famous ‘Black and White Village Trail’. The Burton Gardens ground source heat pump retrofit scheme is being piloted by leading social housing provider Stonewater with the aim of providing residents with a warmer and cheaper home heating system that will save them hundreds of pounds annually on their energy bills.

Stonewater is working with British-manufacturer Kensa Heat Pumps on the pilot retrofit scheme, which is due for completion in December this year. The Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pumps will replace residents’ expensive electric night storage heaters and immersion hot water heating systems. Pictured above is an artist’s impression of ground source heat pumps installed and in use.

A time lapse video of the drilling phase of the project is available to view, check out the Featured Video of the Month in the sidebar on the right. The video shows 25 boreholes being drilled 150m deep to feed the 49 Shoebox heat pumps at 49 bungalows in just two minutes.

“With rising energy costs forcing more vulnerable people into fuel poverty as we approach winter this year, there is a real need for social landlords and housing providers to help tackle the problem which affects thousands of people across the UK,” said Nick Harris, Stonewater’s Chief Executive. “Effective measures such as replacing night storage heaters with more efficient, affordable and carbon-friendly home-heating technologies, can make a big difference to people’s lives, particularly their health and wellbeing.

“An average two-bedroom bungalow typically costs £800 a year to heat with night storage heaters, compared with £390 from a ground source heat pump which is less than half the cost. Our Burton Gardens residents will see a significant reduction in their energy bills with their new ground source heat pump system, which will enable them to heat their homes at an affordable cost and stay warm and comfortable during the cold winter months.”

The scheme’s communal ‘micro district’ design – where a Kensa Shoebox heat pump installed inside each bungalow is connected to one of 25 communal boreholes — ensures eligibility for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding provided by Kensa’s unique partnership with EDF Energy, along with twenty years of income through the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The micro district design also avoids the need for a plant room, and provides complete heating independence to the tenants who are free to switch energy providers. Each resident will also receive a new hot water cylinder and radiators in place of the old night storage units.

Stonewater’s ground source heat pump upgrade in Burton Gardens is costing the housing organisation £700,000 to install. The scheme, which is being subsidised by an upfront ECO grant of £95,000, has an expected payback of 16 years with Stonewater receiving an additional £800,0000 income over 20 years from the Government’s non-domestic RHI scheme.

David Broom, Kensa Heat Pumps’ Technical Sales Manager commented: “For every ground source heat pump installed at Burton Gardens we are taking the equivalent carbon emissions from two cars off the road. Add to this energy security and affordability becoming an increasingly important issue, it is vital to work with forward-thinking housing providers like Stonewater, to improve the condition of the UK’s housing stock.

“Through the borehole installations we are providing an infrastructure which will deliver 75% of the heat required for these properties, for free, for the next 100 years. The homes will be warmer and more comfortable for residents as the cost of heating is significantly reduced, plus they are also protected from future cost increases as the majority of the energy required comes from underneath their garden.”

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