Mar 22, 2019 Last Updated 5:04 PM, Mar 20, 2019

Old and new communities brought together with rural renewable infrastructure

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Shropshire Rural Housing Association has seized Kensa Heat Pumps’ micro ground source heat network opportunities with both hands, rolling out ground source heat pump installations into both their retrofit and new build housing stock.


The latest ground source heat pump project, which features eight new build semi-detached houses and detached bungalows, are adjacent to a cluster of eight existing properties which just 15 months ago were also the recipients of Kensa ground source heat pumps.

Ian Richardson, Shropshire Rural Housing Association Chief Executive, says: “The delivery of affordable warmth is important to Shropshire Rural. Given that the majority of our housing stock doesn’t have access to mains gas, Kensa’s micro district ground source heat pump solution is proving to be very helpful.

"We now have more than a third of our homes getting their heating and domestic hot water in this way; whether through retrofitting or by incorporating the ground source heat pump into new homes.”

Each of the eight new build properties house an individual 6kW Kensa Shoebox heat pump inside the home, connected to one of three communal borehole arrays. One of the communal boreholes feeds two properties, with the two remaining communal borehole arrays – consisting of two boreholes per array – feeding the remaining six properties, with one communal array per three properties. This system architecture, referred to as ‘micro ground source heat networks’ by Kensa, means the installations are eligible for generous subsidies through the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) due to their ‘district’ nature.

The flexibility of the micro ground source heat network design means the installation could be staggered to fit with the progress of the build, and by employing a diversity factor across the array, a lesser number of deeper boreholes was required compared to using individual boreholes connected to individual heat pumps.

From a tenant perspective, the micro ground source heat network delivers independent heating controls and billing thanks to the individual heat pump per property.

Ian Richardson affirms: “Tenant satisfaction with the heat pump solution has been high and the support and assistance we have received from Kensa has been first class.”

Chris Davis, Commercial Director of Kensa Heat Pumps explains: “Shropshire Rural Housing Association have invested in an infrastructure that will provide these rural homes with free energy for the next 100 years. The borehole will provide three quarters of the energy required to heat the homes and provide domestic hot water, for free, sustainably for the lifetime of the property. The remaining energy is provided by the electricity used to run the heat pump and extract the energy from the ground. This equates to a running cost to the tenant lower than mains gas, with equivalent comfort and control in off gas grid areas.”

A video documenting the project has been jointly commissioned by Shropshire Rural Housing and the project's contractors, including Kensa and the main contractor, Saxonby. The video can be viewed here:

Ian Richardson continues: “Shropshire Rural had a number of reasons for deciding to use ground source in our eight new build homes at Kinlet. Firstly, as the development is off mains gas, ground source heat pumps provide a source of affordable warmth for our tenants.

“Secondly, the pumps have low lifetime costs owing to their minimal maintenance requirements and long life expectancy.

“Thirdly, Kensa heat pumps allow us to benefit from the Non Domestic RHI. This means that Kensa ground source heat pumps were, for us, the best choice.

“This view is reinforced by the fact that Shropshire Rural has expanded our partnership with Kensa, retrofitting almost one hundred ground source heat pumps to our homes.”

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