Pilot heating system set to tackle fuel poverty and halve local residents’ home heating costs

Housing association residents in a development of 49 one- and two-bedroom bungalows in Burton Gardens, Weobley, are set to have their heating bills halved as work begins on the installation of an innovative renewable heating system which draws heat energy stored in the earth.

Weobley GSHP 3.jpg

The 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 new ground source heat pumps will replace residents’ expensive electric night storage heaters and immersion hot water heating systems.

“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,” says 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.”

A ground source heat pump is a natural heating system which works in a similar way to a refrigerator but in reverse. Liquid travelling through underground pipes absorbs solar heat from the ground which is then compressed by the heat pump to raise its temperature and heat home radiators and hot water circuits. The underground pipe work is installed in vertical boreholes to depths of up to 170m in the front gardens of the properties. Not only is the system highly sustainable and environmentally friendly, it’s also an extremely effective, cheap and energy-efficient home-heating system which is easily controlled through a simple time clock and central thermostat in the home.

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 Energy Company Obligation (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 Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

David Broom, Kensa Heat Pumps’ Technical Sales Manager comments: “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.”