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.”

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.

Making Headlines

Heat the Streets has been featured by The Guardian, this is great coverage for the project and an opportunity to share the Kensa vision for street by street heat pump deployment and split ownership.

You can read the full article here.

The level of interest in this work is starting to put Stithians on the map with interest from politicians as well as coverage in publications such as The Guardian , BBC Spotlight , Pirate FM and Homebuilding & Renovating

Interest will continue to grow as the project progresses.

If you missed any of the articles please see links below:

BBC Spotlight: http://bit.ly/3X2Nf9C

Pirate FM: http://bit.ly/3hL4BHO

Homebuilding & Renovating: https://bit.ly/3O5MiJD

Designing our heat network.

The community of Stithians has shown incredible enthusiasm for the Heat the Streets project. Since the project’s launch in June, over 250 households have registered. Kensa Utilities appreciates the support both from the Stithians Energy Group and the Parish Council.

Data collected from registrations and home visits has been combined in a mapping tool which is now being assessed by our design colleagues in Kensa Contracting to produce a prioritised list of areas that will provide us with the best project outcomes. The design team will be looking to deliver best value for money and an evidence pack that will allow us to demonstrate to government and potential investors that Heat the Streets is a flexible model that is suitable for all UK housing stock.

We know that many of you are waiting to hear whether you will be a project beneficiary before you order more oil or replace worn heating systems so we will share progress as soon as possible. Installations are all subject to survey and contracts so there is no guarantee that you will receive a heat pump even if you are in one of our chosen areas.

Private Housing retrofit installations in Stithians are heavily subsidised by ERDF and the Kensa Group. We are reliant on income from new build developments included in Heat the Streets to deliver heating systems in your homes. Our programme has had to shift a little to accommodate new build developments due to planning delays in Cornwall. We are expecting to begin works on private homes in Stithians in autumn.

If you have any questions please drop us an email at: info@kensautilities.com Heat the Streets is managed by a very small team, please be patient if it takes us a little while to respond.