Heat the Streets

Demonstrating a sustainable pathway to net zero for UK housing

Kensa Utilities was awarded a grant by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to part-fund Heat the Streets, a renewable heating project running until June 2023. Offering efficient and sustainable ground source heating for new and existing homes in Cornwall, Heat the Streets will reduce greenhouse gases associated with space heating and hot water in these homes by 70%.

The Heat the Streets project ran from June 2021 until June 2023, a full summary of the project can be found in this book.

Renewable sustainable heating for all.

Decarbonisation of heat is seen as one of the greatest challenges in the UK’s net-zero ambition. Over recent years hundreds of renewable energy projects have been delivered across the UK but none of them have attempted to tackle whole streets, regardless of ownership.

Great low-carbon projects are often demonstrated on social housing, the result being rows of renovated properties broken up by private households that weren’t able to take part.

Project aims

Kensa wants clean, efficient, renewable heating to be accessible to everyone. That is why this ambitious project is the first to offer high value, low-carbon technology to households of any tenure, street-by-street.

Heat the Streets demonstrated how and why street-by-street installations are the most efficient and effective solution for the roll-out of ground source heat pump technology at the community level needed to tackle the climate crisis and help the UK reach its net-zero target by 2050.

Ground source heat pump deployment

Over its two-year duration, the project installed the technology in new and existing homes across Cornwall and connected the ground source heating systems to Shared Ground Loop Arrays, a communal network of underground pipework that extracts renewable heat via boreholes. Now they’ve been installed, the boreholes are visually unobtrusive, providing a reliable heat source all year-round.

The ground source heat pumps provide 100% of the properties’ heating and hot water, meaning that residents no longer use carbon intensive oil or LPG fossil fuels. Using freely available and naturally replenished heat energy stored just below the surface of the ground, the heat pumps can achieve higher efficiencies than any other heating system.

As the units are electrically powered, non-combustion devices that emit no local emissions or air pollution, the ground source heat pumps will reduce the carbon output associated with heating each home by around 70%.

Heat the Streets: Case study videos

Watch our episode on Fully Charged’s Everything Electric Show

We conducted a series of insightful sit-down interviews with the beneficiaries of the Heat the Streets project.

100+ GSHPs deployed across various tenure types

Project Outputs

  • World’s first in-road private retrofit of private and social homes
  • 82% carbon reduction, more than any other heating solution
  • World-first demonstration of a scaleable, street-by-street and affordable heat pump solution

Project sites in Cornwall

World First in road deployment

Heat the Streets demonstrates a world-first approach to the mass deployment of GSHPs. Boreholes are connected in the road, offering a network mimicking the gas network, leaving residents in new and existing homes in Cornwall to just plug in their GSHP. This offers the lowest cost of heating and a scaleable approach mass roll-out.

Heat the Streets is a pilot study demonstrating that GSHPs can be retrofitted to domestic properties without the need for a ‘fabric first’ approach, at scale and with no upfront cost to the customer. It demonstrates the approach to mass, street-by-street roll-out of GSHPs in a networked, coordinated fashion.


Private Retrofit: Lowest cost way to get off oil/LPG
Social Housing: Lifecycle cost benefits without upfront cost challenge
Newbuild: 2025 Future Homes Standard. Cheapest way to deliver heat

Market Sectors

Private retrofit

By removing the cost as a barrier to entry the project was welcomed by homeowners. The complexity of install reduced (no project or contractor management for homeowner)

New build developers

By removing the cost of the infrastructure, our offer was more attractive than installing an air-source heating system, providing new owners with an efficient longer lasting heat provision.

Social housing providers

Social housing providers were able to reduce the complexity of asset management and ensure residents were given access to affordable warmth whilst reducing the impact on the environment.

Comparing Ground Source Heat Pumps with alternatives.

Compared with oil or LPG:

  • No unsightly fuel storage tank
  • No hassle of organising fuel deliveries
  • No worry over fuel theft
  • Pay for the energy when you use it, not in one upfront cost

Compared with air source heat pumps (ASHP):

  • Ground source heat pumps have inherent higher efficiency
  • Lower running costs
  • No need for planning permission due to noise.
  • Longer life expectancy

Compared with biomass:

  • Ground source heat pumps do not require space for fuel storage
  • Biomass fuel prices are unregulated
  • Virtually no maintenance compared with high maintenance for biomass
  • No need for planning permission due to emissions