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Last updateThu, 17 Jan 2019 4pm

RHI success stories tackle fuel poverty with Kensa Heat Pumps

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:

The only way is up for CISRS as new milestone reached

Latest figures taken from the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) database show that the 50,000 mark for CISRS card holders has been breached. This is a significant achievement and is by far the highest number of current valid cards the scheme has ever held since its inception in the late 1960’s.

Read more: The only way is up for CISRS as new milestone reached

Networking organisation offers solution to lack of women in construction

A new networking organisation is looking to partner with UK building companies to raise awareness among young women of the career paths available to them in the construction industry and help bridge the skilled-labour shortage.

The Artemis Network, set up in April 2014, offers UK-wide coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities for girls aged between 16 and 21 with a particular focus on careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) industries.

Read more: Networking organisation offers solution to lack of women in construction

SIG launches business finance tools for customers

SIG – the FTSE-250 listed European construction supplier – has launched a package of financial services for customers. They are a response to the continued economic and political issues that are putting an increased strain on SMEs in the construction industry.

Read more: SIG launches business finance tools for customers

Record numbers for Structural Timber Association factory tours

Over three hundred people from across the construction sector attended the Structural Timber Association’s (STA) recent series of factory tours – the highest number since the tours were first introduced last year.

The tours, which took place in September and October, saw 338 people attend one of six dates across the country.

Read more: Record numbers for Structural Timber Association factory tours