Shropshire rural renewable programme makes the most of ground source heat pumps

Shropshire rural renewable programme makes the most of ground source heat pumps

A rural new-build development straddling England and Wales is the fourth project by Shropshire Rural Housing Association (SRHA) to feature ground source heat pumps, delivering on its commitment to provide affordable warmth to its 300-strong housing stock.

Consisting of two-, three- and four-bedroom detached and semi-detached family homes, each house at Llanymynech has its own British manufactured Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pump installed in under stairs cupboards. Each heat pump is connected to a single district ground array in the centre of the development which consists of four boreholes drilled to depths of 122m. The district nature of the ground array means the scheme qualifies for 20 years of income via the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, forecast to return £63,000 against the investment of £56,000, whilst saving residents 15-20% compared to oil or LPG alternatives.

A Shoebox heat pump at Llanymynech.

However, the nature of the small development brought disproportionate challenges, as Ian Richardson, Shropshire Rural Housing Association Chief Executive, commented: “Llanymynech presented a number of challenges: the brownfield site was tightly confined and in a conservation area, bordered by other residential properties and a church, and immediately abutting another building project. To compound the difficulties of this site, a right of access for vehicles and pedestrians needed to be maintained at all times. Working closely with our main contractor, Pickstock Homes, Kensa Heat Pumps and their drilling sub-contractor completed the work in exemplary fashion.”

Nick Scott, Managing Director of Pickstock Homes, added: “Rural Shropshire is largely off the gas grid, demanding a more considered heating approach to reduce carbon emissions and resident energy bills. In just three years, Shropshire Rural Housing Association and Kensa Heat Pumps have completed three new-build schemes and one retrofit scheme all featuring Kensa ground source heat pumps, equating to over 50% of all of Shropshire Rural Housing Association’s stock.

David Broom, Technical Sales Manager for Kensa, said: “Changes to the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs have created opportunities in the social housing sector for district ground source heat pump systems. Shropshire Rural are one of our longest standing customers, and they are early pioneers, very quickly realising that such systems are technically robust and can be delivered at lower capital cost when compared to ‘stand alone’ single property installations, ideal for clusters of rural properties such as those in Shropshire Rural’s portfolio.

“Furthermore, the long term financial returns are compelling; GSHP-based systems deliver the lowest running costs to the tenant and the lowest lifetime ownership costs for the landlord; and of course, both retrofit and new-build projects will benefit from the RHI income.”

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