A £1.4m landmark renewable heating project for housing association Flagship Homes, part of Flagship Group, in Felixstowe has dramatically cut heating bills and carbon emissions for more than 100 homes.
The new six-phase communal ground source heat pump system — the largest in the region — has been installed by Norfolk-based renewable heating expert Finn Geotherm in partnership with East Anglia’s largest heating company, Gasway Services, also part of Flagship Group.
Key features of the project:
- Reduced heating bills by 70%
- Cut carbon emissions by 70% compared to storage heaters
- System will last in excess of 30 years — more than three times a conventional boiler
- Encourages customers to heat their homes, positively impacting on their health and wellbeing
Managed by Flagship Homes, the 113 houses, flats and bungalows on Runnacles Way in Felixstowe, plus two private residences, had previously been heating their homes by expensive and inefficient electric storage heaters. Having successfully completed two other award-winning district heating schemes for Flagship, Finn Geotherm was appointed, alongside Gasway, to undertake its largest heat pump project to date, to transform the way residents heat their homes and receive hot water.
Renewable heating technology
Finn Geotherm installed six large scale district heating schemes for this project. The schemes each use a central ground source heat pump system to generate all the heat and hot water required for one section of the estate — around 20 homes. Heat is collected from the ground using bore holes — a total of 14,000 metres was carefully installed by Finn Geotherm underneath parking and grass areas in the estate.
Finn Geotherm also installed underground, highly insulated primary distribution pipes to the individual houses. Gasway then connected each home to the primary distribution and installed the new radiators. Each phase of the project has a standalone plant room, which enables the heat pump system to be monitored and serviced centrally, without the need to disturb any of Flagship’s customers.
By installing this renewable energy heating system, customers at Runnacles Way are now enjoying cheaper energy bills — costing around 70% less than before. Energy use has also been cut by 70%, making a significant impact on carbon emissions and providing a more affordable and efficient living environment for Flagship customers.
In addition, the installation qualifies for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a Government scheme which assists with the project’s capital cost by providing quarterly payments for 20 years, allowing Flagship to roll out the much-improved heating systems for more customers in the future.
Tackling fuel poverty
Madeleine Jefferies, Head of Housing at Flagship Homes said: “Last year was challenging for everyone and we know that many people really struggled to pay their energy bills. Fuel poverty is a serious issue which can affect the wider community, and we’re always looking at ways to make our customers’ homes more affordable and giving people some breathing space when things get tough. Our customers in Felixstowe have already seen a difference in their prices and we’re delighted that we can help to make a difference.”
Megan Gonsalves, Energy and Sustainability Manager at Flagship Group said: “As a Group we’re embracing a greener, cleaner approach to our homes and across our business, to improve the future for our customers, and our planet. This has been a fantastic project; we’ve made progress in reducing our carbon footprint and we’re hoping to continue to improve heating systems in the communities that we serve.”
Guy Ransom, Commercial Director for Finn Geotherm, added: “We are delighted to complete this installation that demonstrates district heating schemes using ground source heat pumps can be installed for existing housing stock without having to first undertake massive changes to the housing infrastructure such as putting in additional insulation. This has been our biggest and most challenging project to date but we are so pleased with the result, which proves just how smart and effective district heating schemes are. We hope that more housing associations will follow Flagship’s excellent example.”
Tony Hunt, Renewable Projects Manager at Gasway, commented: “We’re really proud of this project because large heat networks of this scale can really benefit customers, as well as having a positive impact on the environment. We’re keen to continue to deliver projects like this across the East, to help create sustainable communities.”