Heat the Streets, Wins UK Green Business Awards

Image courtesy - BusinessGreen

Kensa Utilities, is thrilled to announce that its groundbreaking project, Heat the Streets, has been successful in the category: Green Heat Project of the Year, at the highly esteemed UK Green Business Awards, organised by BusinessGreen. This recognition highlights Kensa Utilities’ commitment to revolutionising the heating industry and its dedication to deployment of sustainable, efficient energy solutions.

The UK Green Business Awards celebrates excellence within the green business sector. The “Green Heat Project of the Year ” category acknowledges some of the most innovative green heat projects in the UK. Kensa Utilities’ ‘Heat the Streets’ project surpassed all expectations and emerged as the clear winner, impressing the judges by bringing affordable low-carbon heating to urban areas with a street-by-street approach.

Heat the Streets was an ambitious project that aimed to decarbonise residential heating across all housing sectors by deploying Kensa’s highly efficient and renewable ground source heat pump technology connected by an in-road network of boreholes (known as a shared ground loop array). The project has successfully demonstrated the scalability and viability of ground source heat pumps connected to in-road infrastructure as a cost-effective solution for reducing carbon emissions and providing reliable, sustainable heat.

Lisa Treseder, Director of Business Development at Kensa Utilities, expressed her pride in receiving the award, stating, “We are honoured and thrilled for Heat the Streets to be recognised at the UK Green Business Awards. This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team who have been instrumental in making this project a resounding success.”

Treseder continued, “Heat the Streets represents a significant step towards achieving our goal of decarbonising heating at scale. Combining our new business model where Kensa Utilities fund, own and maintain the infrastructure with Kensa’s well-established ground source heat pump technology, we can confidently advance towards the reduction of carbon emissions and the implementation of more efficient heating solutions.”

Kensa Utilities’ Heat the Streets project has also showcased the importance of collaboration between industry experts, local authorities, and community stakeholders. Through strategic partnerships and proactive community engagement, Kensa Utilities has successfully delivered the first iteration of a 21st century version of the gas grid, providing homes in Cornwall with low cost, low-carbon, energy-efficient heating systems whilst improving the quality of life for residents.

As Kensa Utilities continues to expand its influence and shape the future of sustainable heating, this prestigious award reinforces the company’s reputation as a pioneer in the industry. The recognition received at the UK Green Business Awards serves as an encouragement for Kensa Utilities to pursue further innovations and drive the adoption of networked heat pumps on a broader scale.

Reducing carbon and cost of living for homes in Cornwall.

Ground Source Heat Pumps promise environmentally friendly heating solutions in Cornwall.

Kensa Utilities and Coastline Housing celebrated their working relationship by taking a recent tour of the European Regional Development Fund supported project Heat the Streets.

Senior members from both companies took a tour of Collin’s Parc in Stithians to take a look at the ground works that have been installed as part of the world’s first in-road ground array infrastructure.

The teams were given the opportunity to look at one of the newly installed ground source heating systems. It is one of 31 ground source heat pumps that are being connected within Coastline Housing properties in Cornwall.

Heating accounts for 34% of carbon emissions in the UK and ground source heat pumps are the lowest carbon, most efficient form of heating. To successfully meet the Net-Zero goals of the government providers must look at ways to deploy low carbon heating throughout the country. Through Heat the Streets, Kensa Utilities are demonstrating a solution for retrofitting multiple properties at scale with ground source heating systems.

The project involves installing ground source heat pump technology in new and existing homes across Cornwall which will then be connected to Shared Ground Loop Arrays, a communal network of underground pipework that will extract renewable heat via boreholes. Once installed, the boreholes will be visually unobtrusive, providing a reliable heat source all year-round.

The infrastructure requires minimal maintenance and has an expected lifespan of 100 years. The ground source heat pumps have an expected lifetime greater than 20 years, also allowing long-term cost savings for Coastline and its customers. 

Through Heat the Streets, Kensa and Coastline can be confident that residents are being provided with optimum comfort and lower running costs. Kensa estimate that replacing the night storage heaters with ground source heat pumps will not only reduce running costs by up to £500 per year, but also cut carbon emissions by 70%. 

Lisa Treseder, Director of Business Development, Kensa Utilities states:

“A Ground Source Heat Pump on a Shared Ground Loop provides the lowest carbon, lowest running costs, and lowest whole-life costs. As a result of these systems, housing providers can reduce their environmental impact, future-proof their assets, and protect their tenants from fuel poverty.

“We are proud of our relationship with Coastline and believe that the model we are demonstrating through Heat the Streets is a scalable blueprint for the deployment of heat pumps throughout the UK”

Gareth Jones, Contracts Manager at Coastline Housing, adds: 

“A number of Coastline households will benefit from this innovative project and it helps us as a social landlord progress towards less reliance on fossil fuels in future in line with the ambitions in our environmental strategy. 

“It’s a real win-win for Coastline and for our customers. As well as the obvious environmental benefits, it will mean lower running costs for customers heating their homes. As a local housing charity, both of these things are very important to us and we hope to be able to roll this technology out to other areas in future.”

Both of these Cornish companies are committed to improving the lives of people through affordable, more efficient low carbon solutions.

First Ground Source Heat Pump connects to the world’s first in-road retrofit of ground array infrastructure.

The first resident in the Cornish village of Stithians has today had their ground source heat pump (GSHP) connected to an ambient heat network that will draw energy from under the street.

 It’s thought to be a world first shared ground array being retrospectively installed in a public highway.

The pioneering project,  Heat the Streets, is run by Kensa Utilities and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and represents a significant investment in the future of sustainable energy.

Each home involved in Heat the Streets will swap either carbon intensive oil or LPG fossil fuels for its own low carbon Kensa ground source heat pump that will provide 100% of the property’s heating and hot water year round.   Homeowners will pay a monthly standing charge to access the heat network, much like the existing gas connection fee.

The in-road ground source heat pump network, also known as Networked Heat Pumps, in Collins Parc, Stithians, will consist of 42 boreholes, drilled to an average depth of 106m. It allows homeowners to utilise the heat from the ground to keep their houses warm and reduce carbon emissions. The infrastructure emulates the existing gas grid and has been designed to accommodate future connections, allowing households who were not ready to change their heating system to connect at a later date.

Unlike traditional district heating, there is no need for a central plant, no heat loss around the network, and customers can still change their energy provider at will, promoting energy independence.

Heating accounts for around 30% of the UK’s carbon emissions and The Committee on Climate Change estimates 80% of the buildings that will be here in 2050 have already been built. As ground source heat pumps are electrically powered, non-combustion devices that emit no local emissions or air pollution, they will reduce the carbon output associated with heating each home by around 70%.

Wouter Thijssen, Managing Director of Kensa Utilities comments:

“It’s fantastic to have the first heat pump up and running on this landmark project which provides a blueprint for the decarbonisation of heating in the UK. Our model replicates the gas network with a pipe in the ground, a flat rate standing charge to consumers and a little white box in the house.

“Just as Burton Upon Trent was the first UK town to convert to natural gas in 1968 – at the time a cheaper, better, cleaner fuel than towns gas – we believe Stithians is the first UK town to convert to the 21st-century equivalent: networked heat pumps. Residents will have access to a network that will provide cheaper and cleaner heat for 100 years to come”.

Some locals have already been connected to a parallel scheme in Stithians which involves drilling a borehole into their front drive. They’re delighted with the results from their Kensa ground source heat pumps.

Caroline Bolitho, switching on her Kensa Shoebox heat pump for the first time.

Caroline Bolitho, resident of Stithians who’s heat pump was switched on today comments: “As a grandma I feel that I’m doing my bit for future generations and reducing my carbon footprint by having a ground source heat pump system which is important. I have been using oil heating before this and I feel really privileged and excited to have the system up and running.”

Jackie Barson, a resident of Stithians is already connected, she commented:

“I am happy with it.  It’s smart and efficient. It’ll take a few weeks to fully get to grips with the operation, but I have no regrets. I do know there are other residents who are disappointed they’re not part of the project.”

Kensa believes that street-by-street deployment of this infrastructure is the most efficient way for the country to reduce the carbon output associated with heating for the lowest overall system cost.

In order to make projects like Heat The Streets easily replicable across the country, effective zoning and the granting of statutory rights for heat networks are crucial.

For more information on Kensa Utilities and how they plan to enable the mass rollout of ground source heat pumps, please visit kensautilities.com or contact the press office.

National coverage and recognition.

Heat the Streets has been making headlines again, with the project being covered by the Financial Times. The article focuses on how our model of networked ground-source heat pumps provides a blueprint for decarbonising millions of UK homes.

You can read the full article here >>

An article in Elemental Digital stated that “Kensa’s approach is offering the holy grail of clean heating, hot water and stable bills without significant upfront costs.” You can read the full article here >>.

We are delighted to announce that Heat the Streets has been shortlisted for the Green Heat Project of the Year in the UK Green Business Awards 2023.

This is an incredible achievement for us to be recognized alongside the other finalists, all of whom are leading the way for the UK’s green economy and transition to net-zero and a sustainable economy.

Lowest impact on the environment and your wallet

The ownership cost of a ground source heat pump for Heat the Streets customers in Stithians is lower than remaining on oil, by almost £300 a year. We are immensely pleased that Heat the Streets customers will be able to benefit from this saving, even with oil currently being at a lower cost. However, we have already seen oil price rise in Northern Ireland this Autumn and expect, as per previous trends, for UK oil prices to follow suit, making the saving margin for Heat the Streets customers even greater!

Additionally, customers will not have the inconvenience of the annual servicing of an oil boiler and will benefit from the extended lifespan of a GSHP, of approximately 25 years, compared to 12 years for an oil boiler. Furthermore, with the Government’s target to be net zero carbon by 2050 and ongoing open consultation into the phasing out of fossil fuel boilers, Heat the Streets customers are contributing to a cleaner, greener environment, benefitting from improved air quality and future proofing their homes.

Ground source heat pumps currently provide the lowest carbon heat and further reductions in the planned carbon intensity of electricity generation mean further savings are expected. Alongside these environmental and immediate financial savings a report entitled Better Homes, Cooling Planet, produced by WWF and Scottish Power claims installing low carbon technologies could increase property values by an average of £10,000.

In Hendra Close eleven boreholes have now been drilled to up 150 meters deep and are hidden below the ground. Heat will be continuously captured by this underground infrastructure for more than one hundred years, ensuring residents remain warm throughout the year with minimal maintenance.

Now that the first heat pumps have recently been installed inside private homes in Stithians, we spoke with a couple of residents about their new systems, our first install was in a home that was previously heated with a multi-burner:
“I was prepared for the disruption, but you don’t get this all singing and dancing new system without some disruption.

I had a multi-burner before and this is going to make things so much easier, I don’t have to worry about bringing the coal in.

The team were very nice and accommodating and happy to answer questions through the whole process. I felt comfortable leaving the house to let them get on with it, and they left the house clean and tidy when they were done.

I am definitely going to be saving money, we’re happy, happy.” Julie, Hendra Close.

There are a variety of heating systems that are being replaced within the village and the second property that was retrofitted had an air source heat pump:
“We’ve put up with a poorly installed air source for 9 years, it’s good to have a system that works.

Our water pressure has got a lot better; everything has improved and we have heat in every room.

When the air source is removed it will give me more space in the garden.

I couldn’t believe how quick everybody worked, it all happened so fast. I would speak to them in the morning before going to work, they’d tell me what they would be doing, and they would be tidying up when I got home.” Lowenna, Hendra Close.

The retrofitting of heating systems in Hendra Close will continue over the next few weeks, whilst the drill rig has now moved to Rose Meadow. We expect to start installing heat pumps in properties in Rose Meadow week commencing 21st November.

Former Secretary of State visits Kensa’s renewable heating project

Former Secretary of State for The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and current MP for Camborne, Hayle, and Redruth recently visited Kensa’s pioneering ground source heat pump project in Stithians.

Our landmark ground source heat pump project, that has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will see homes within the off-gas village of Stithians, Cornwall, have their existing fossil fuel heating systems replaced with highly efficient, low carbon ground source Heat pumps.

George Eustice, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Camborne, Redruth, and Hayle was given the opportunity to learn how Heat the Streets is demonstrating Kensa’s vision for the decarbonisation of home heating and the mass rollout of heat pumps which are required to meet the Government’s net-zero goal by 2050.

Following the visit, George Eustice, local MP for Camborne and Redruth commented,

“It was great to recently visit the Kensa Utilities’ demonstration of ground sourced heat pumps in Stithians. One of the lessons from the current situation with Russia and Ukraine is that we must ensure that we increase our energy independence in a sustainable way.

The Stithians demonstration is a blueprint for how ground-sourced heat technology can be rolled out UK-wide and a great example of how we can harness our readily available natural resources to reach net-zero by 2050 and ensure we reduce our reliance on natural gas imports. I look forward to continue supporting Kensa and their work as Cornwall continues its proud heritage of leading the way in developing new cutting-edge technology.”

Through the street-by-street roll-out of the infrastructure, which residents pay to connect their heat pump to, Kensa’s split ownership model offers a viable renewable alternative to the mains gas network. Each home will have its own ground source heat pump, offering residents full control over their heating, independent billing, and the flexibility to switch energy suppliers, much like a traditional gas boiler.

With the current energy and cost of living crisis having an impact felt within the village, George was also able to discuss with residents the positive effect that this new equipment will have on their lives.

Kensa Utilities’ Managing Director Wouter Thijssen said:

“What we’re demonstrating here in Stithians can be a blueprint for millions of homes all across the UK. The barriers to ground-source have always been upfront cost and disruption. These barriers are lifted thanks to Kensa Utilities’ funding and the deployment of ground infrastructure on a street-by-street basis. This will make heat pumps accessible to millions of households.”

Private retrofit ground source heat project breaks ground.

Lord Matthew Taylor officially opened Heat the Streets in Stithians. Kensa Utilities’, European Regional Development Fund supported project has officially broken ground in the most ambitious part of the project; the retrofitting of private homes in the off-gas Cornish Village of Stithians.

Photographs by Emily Whitfield-Wicks Kensa Utilities Project Launch.  Stithians.Lord Matthew Taylor was on hand in Stithians to officially start the borehole drilling, which is the first step in the installation of the split ownership ground arrays, through which the ground source heat pumps will provide homes with all their heat and hot water.

Lord Taylor stated: “Heat the Streets in Stithians is a national first, the first time a cost-effective way has been demonstrated to achieve the UK’s net-zero targets for heating existing housing stock.

Already delivering the lowest running costs for heating homes of any system, Kensa’s model of a ‘street main’ for Ground Source Heat to enable affordable zero carbon heating for every home in the street is the world’s first.

Borehole being drilled to install ground source heat pumps in Stithians
It is great that Cornwall is leading the way in solving the issue of decarbonising heat for homes affordably, an incredible achievement for a Cornish business which is already the UK market leader by far in ground source heating systems.

The village of Stithians will be attracting national attention as this system rolls out a solution which will keep families affordably warm and help save the planet.”

Through Heat the Streets, homes in Stithians will be part of a street by street retrofit program that will see existing heating systems replaced with efficient ground source heat pumps that are made just 3 miles from the village. Due to the funding which Kensa Utilities received all the equipment is being provided with no upfront cost to the homeowner.

Borehole being drilled as part of the ground source heat project in Cornwall
Heat the Streets is demonstrating Kensa’s vision for the decarbonisation of home heating and the mass rollout of heat pumps which are required to meet the Government’s net-zero goal by 2050. Through the street by street roll out of the infrastructure, which residents pay to connect their heat pump to, this split ownership model offers a viable renewable alternative to the mains gas network. Each home will have its own ground source heat pump, offering residents full control over their heating, independent billing, and the flexibility to switch energy suppliers, much like a traditional gas boiler.

Kensa Utilities’ Director of Business Development, Lisa Treseder said “The ground array infrastructure serving ground source heat pumps has a lifespan of around 100 years making it ideal for split ownership and long-term investment. The ground array represents over a third of the cost of a ground source heating system. By splitting out this system cost, Kensa will make ground source heating more accessible to British households. We hope that this infrastructure will eventually take the place of the UK’s gas network.”

Building towards a greener future

Local councillor on hand to witness new build developers committing to net-zero target through the installation of ground source heat pumps.

Heat the Streets has entered its next phase with the installation of ground source heat pumps in newly built apartments in Carlyon Bay near St Austell.

The Future Homes Standards, set out by the government, will ban installation of fossil fuel heating in new buildings from 2025.

Kensa Utilities’ Heat the Streets project has enabled progressive developers to get ahead of the game and install highly efficient, renewable heating now. Furthermore, as Kensa Utilities is paying for the ground array infrastructure through Heat the Streets, developers can install ground source heat pumps in their developments for less than the costs of air source heating.

Although air source heat pumps cost less to install than ground source, they can suffer corrosion damage at coastal locations such as Carlyon Bay, this increases maintenance costs and reduces the lifespan of the equipment. These new apartments will benefit from ground source heat pumps which are located inside, away from the elements. Better yet, the heat pumps are manufactured by a Cornish company just twenty miles from site.

On hand to witness these installations was Cornwall Councillor for Mevagissey and St Austell Bay; James Mustoe. After learning of the project, Councillor Mustoe was keen to learn more about how Kensa’s work on Heat the Streets could provide a decarbonisation solution for heating across the rest of the county. Following his visit Councillor Mustoe said:

“I was pleased to meet the team from Kensa and see their innovative project in Carlyon Bay.

The Heat the Streets initiative is an excellent one and it was useful to hear more about the benefits of ground source heat pumps as an energy supply method that will be critical to help the country achieve its green energy goals for the future.

It is good to see Kensa working with a range of properties across Cornwall, New and old, private, and social rent, to showcase the flexibility of the ground source heat pump and the ease in which it can be installed and then left in situ. I look forward to seeing this work continue as a viable option for a greener and cleaner energy future for Cornwall.”

Heat the Streets will soon enter its most ambitious phase street by street retrofit of ground source heat pumps in the Cornish village of Stithians. Kensa Utilities are replacing existing heating systems in the village with efficient Cornish made heat pumps – with no upfront costs to the homeowners.

Under Kensa’s split-ownership funding model households will pay a standing charge to Kensa Utilities for use of the ground array. Ground source heat pumps don’t require annual maintenance and only use 1kW of electricity for every 3kW of heat produced (3.5 times more efficient than a gas boiler) so the cost of ownership will remain low for households benefitting from this project.

Kensa Utilities’ Director of Business Development, Lisa Treseder said “The ground array infrastructure serving ground source heat pumps has a lifespan of around 100 years making it ideal for split ownership and long-term investment. The ground array represents over a third of the cost of a ground source heating system. By splitting out this system cost, Kensa will make ground source heating more accessible to British households. We hope that this infrastructure will eventually take the place of the UK’s gas network.”

Heat Loss Surveys

Why are we undertaking heat loss surveys?

The first step toward retrofitting a ground source heat pump is to determine how much heat a property currently uses. Our calculations will help us determine the size and number of boreholes needed for the installation, the size of radiators and the size of heat pump.

A heat pump must be sized correctly for the building in order to function efficiently. Incorrectly sized heat pumps can lead to higher heating bills and a cold home. Traditional boilers are often installed without precise design, relying instead on very high temperature heat delivery and with little concern for efficiency. Renewable heating is more refined in order to carefully manage the running cost and deliver the best outcome.

In addition to examining heat loss, these surveys will allow us to determine:

  • Comparative fuel costs
  • Radiator size when upgrading
  • The peak heat demand for a property
  • Dimensions (room sizes)
  • Age
  • Type (detached, terraced etc.)
  • Material (solid wall, cavity wall etc.)
  • Level of insulation

Causes of Heat Loss

Older buildings are generally more susceptible to heat loss. Various factors can contribute to this, including inadequate insulation, thermal bridging (this is when heat can travel through building materials such as aluminum window frames), single glazing, and drafts.

Depending on the type of building, the amount of heat loss varies; terraced houses lose heat more through the roof and floor than through the walls, whereas flats lose most of their heat through the outside walls.

The following figures show how much heat is lost by poorly insulated houses:

  • Up to 25% through the roof
  • Up to 35% through outside walls
  • Up to 25% through doors and windows
  • Up to 15% through ground floors
    (Ref. www.ired.co.uk)

It is possible to reduce heat loss in existing buildings in several ways, including:

  • Draught-proofing
  • Roof insulation
  • Double-glazing
  • Floor insulation
  • Solid wall insulation

Project update July 2022

Designing your heat network.

Our team has now compiled a list of locations for the pilot project’s phase 1 installations in the village. This list is based on the following criteria:

  • Clusters of homes that all registered interest
  • Ease and speed of installation (e.g. no special considerations such as distance from overhead lines)
  • Replicability (to help us show government that this is appropriate for medium density ‘typical’ British housing stock)

Phase 1 installations will include some/all of the following areas:

  • Hendra Close
  • Hendra Terrace
  • Rose Meadow
  • Gordons Close

This list is in order of installation. Over the next couple of weeks, we will contact homeowners in Hendra Close and Hendra Terrace to begin home surveys and firm contracts. You do not need to contact us at this time. All installations in these areas are subject to survey and contract. We plan on starting phase 1 installations August/September 2022.

Phase 2 installations will include some/all of the following areas:

  • Collins Parc
  • Crellow Fields
  • Gordons Close
  • New Road

We estimate that phase 2 installations will start in December 2022/January 2023. To widen the scope and feasibility of installations in these areas, we warmly encourage you to discus the project with your neighbours in the hope to sign more up – we are happy to help join any conversations you have and share further information that will be of benefit. Please get in touch if you would like further support.

Areas that will not be included in the project phase 1 and 2.

Parts of the village that are not in either phase 1 or 2 will unfortunately not be included in the pilot project at this stage. While we regret that some people will be disappointed, we feel it is important to let you know as soon as possible so you can plan ahead for your heating needs.

If you haven’t been lucky enough to be included in one of our phases of work you may wish to consider taking advantage of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme or ECO4 funding (means tested, launching soon).

If you are struggling with your energy bills there are organisations that can help. Community Energy Plus is a local organisation with a great deal of experience supporting Cornish people to enjoy warmer, more efficient homes.

We are happy to discus this with you, though kindly be aware that we are a small team, and it may take us a little while to respond.

Next steps for Stithians.

We want to express our gratitude to everyone in Stithians for their support of this project. We look forward to beginning our phase 1 installations and working with you to achieve Stithians’ Net-Zero ambitions.

We will soon add a temporary exhibit in the Stithians Centre that will keep residents up to date on project updates, including work schedules and road closures. It will also feature display models of the heat pumps that are part of the project.