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 pump project breaks ground in Cornwall.

Heat the Streets, Kensa Utilities’ ambitious ERDF-funded sustainable heating project, has broken ground at two new construction sites in Cornwall.

Work has begun on Heat the Streets low carbon heating installations in Carlyon Bay and Harlyn Bay. Drilling has started for boreholes that will form shared loop ground arrays to be connected to Kensa ground source heat pumps. The heat pumps will supply the homeowners with 100% of their heat and hot water all year round.

Kensa’s Shared Ground Loop Arrays are an ultra-low temperature heat network used with ground source heat pumps. In a similar setup to a traditional gas framework, a series of boreholes are linked to create a shared ground loop array that provides heat to multiple properties. Kensa Utilities will retain ownership of the ground array, charging a fixed annual fee to households for its use.

This split-ownership funding of low carbon heating is intended to break down the barriers to net zero and make clean, reliable heating affordable for more households.

Due to Kensa Utilities’ ERDF financing model, they have been able to install heat pumps and the associated infrastructure for less than the cost of an air source heat pump. Consequently, forward-thinking developers can offer a more attractive sustainable heating system while reducing construction costs and reducing carbon emissions.

The drilling of these boreholes marks a significant step forward in the Heat the Streets project which will also see installation of split-ownership, ground source heat pumps retrofitted into private properties in the off-gas village of Stithians, Cornwall and social housing estates around the county.

Lisa Treseder, Kensa Utilities Senior Project Manager, commented: “To achieve net zero by 2050, we need to transform the way people heat their homes. This Project demonstrates how we can decarbonise home heating in a way that creates great value for money while minimising capital investments. We also need to lower the barrier of upfront costs to encourage the adoption of ground source heat pumps.”