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RHI success stories tackle fuel poverty with Kensa Heat Pumps

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Kensa Heat Pumps has successfully completed a substantial programme of renewable heating upgrades in partnership with four social housing providers using the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) funding stream and Domestic RHI, resulting in tenant running costs being halved.

Thanks to successful joint bids for government RHPP funding with ground source heat pump manufacturer Kensa Heat Pumps, Westward Housing, Shropshire Rural Housing Association (SRHA), Ocean Housing, and South Holland District Council are all reporting reduced tenant running costs and energy savings, following the completion of an ambitious programme of retrofit renewable heating installations, covering 125 social housing properties throughout Shropshire, Devon, Cornwall and Lincolnshire.

Bryan Powell, Chief Executive of Shropshire Rural Housing Association, explains:
“The objective of undertaking the installation of ground source heat pump systems in our homes is to give our tenants control over their heating, reduce their energy costs and invest in modern low carbon technology to reduce our carbon footprint. Feedback from our tenants has confirmed that this has been achieved as they now have control over their heating using the system to deliver better comfort levels at a reduced cost.”

Mr Smith, a tenant of Westward Housing comments:

“The ground source heat pump is a brilliant system, its cut my electricity bills down by half and it is a lot warmer; the bungalow is lovely and warm.”

Utilising the RHPP Fast Track and RHPP Reach Out Schemes, all four social housing providers collaborated with Kensa to undertake a complete upgrade of their heating systems to ground source heat pumps in off gas grid housing stock following feedback about problems with their night storage and solid fuel heating, as Mr Smith, a tenant at one of the project sites explains:

"Up until the ground source heat pump was put in we had the old economy 7 night storage heaters, which were very expensive, weren’t very reliable, and were very difficult to control; with the night storage you couldn’t turn it off and on, you’d be waiting 24 hours for it to heat back up again. And come the end of the day, when you needed the heat, they were cold. It is now great to be able to flick a switch and within 30 minutes to have as much heat as we want. “

When asked if he would recommend ground source heat pumps to other tenants in similar properties, Mr Smith responded: “Go for it! You’ve got the versatility of gas central heating, and I would say it’s probably slightly cheaper. It’s a brilliant system.”

Kensa’s RHPP schemes consisted of:

  • Westward Housing installing 25 ground source heat pumps from January to March 2014 using the RHPP Fast Track scheme.
  • Shropshire Rural Housing Association installing 38 ground source heat pumps under the Fast Track scheme between October 2013 and March 2014, and 25 ground source heat pumps under the RHPP Reach Out scheme between April and June 2014.
  • Ocean Housing installing 21 ground source heat pumps under the Fast Track scheme with an approved extension on completion to June 2014.
  • South Holland District Council installed 16 ground source heat pumps under the Reach Out scheme between April and June 2014.

All properties in the RHPP programme feature individual boreholes ranging from 58m deep to 125m deep, due to variances in load and geology. Each borehole is connected to a 3.5kW, 4.3kW, or 6.2kW Kensa Compact high temperature heat pump. Spanning flats, houses and bungalows, the four social housing schemes within Kensa Heat Pumps’ RHPP Programme will all earn an income for 7 years through the Domestic RHI.

All four Housing Associations are reporting immediate improvements on tenant bills, with many reporting a reduction in heating costs of 40-50%, whilst also enjoying a more comfortable home. It is expected each property will save 110 tonnes of CO2 over the system lifetime.

Mr Smith comments:

“This time last year we had to put between £50 and £60 a fortnight on our meter and it is now between £20 and £30 a fortnight.”

Kensa Heat Pumps have published a video and case study featuring Mr Smith’s testimonial, in his own words, to provide a tenant’s perspective of the RHPP Programme at: