Case study: Broadgate Farm

Steve Holtby & Elaine Robinson purchased multiple ground source heat pump units over a number of years to provide heating and hot water to newly converted luxury holiday cottages as part of an ongoing process of renovations to the Broadgate Farm development which enabled them to access the Non Domestic RHI.

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Steve Holtby & Elaine Robinson bought the 19 acre Broadgate Farm site in Beverley in 2006 with the intention of making it a family home and the base for Steve’s construction business. The farm site consisted of numerous outbuildings and old barns that were in various states of disrepair. Elaine & Steve decided to renovate them into luxury self-catering cottages with the first ones opening in late 2009.

As the properties are holiday lets, it is really important that they have a reliable source of heat and unlimited amounts of hot water to ensure that guests have a comfortable stay. The barns needed heating systems installing, but as the site is off gas the traditional heating options available would have been liquid gas or oil, which Elaine & Steve knew would be expensive and unpredictable. They decided to look into ground source heat pumps as they believed the technology could provide lower running costs and knew this would be a better decision for the business in the long run.

The first two heat pumps she purchased were a Kensa 10kW Single Compact to provide heating and hot water to a pair of cottages, The Forge and The Stables, and a Kensa 12kW Twin Compact providing heating and hot water to a three bedroom cottage, The Granary, and a four bedroom cottage, The Barn House.

slinky 002Steve knew of a trusted electrician and a plumber who could fit the heat pumps, so turned to Kensa for help overseeing the installation using Kensa’s MCS Umbrella scheme. They were very impressed with the level of expert advice and technical support provided by Kensa, including being given a staff member’s personal mobile number as a point of contact.

To harness heat from the ground, coiled slinky pipe was installed in trenches underneath a nearby field. Straight pipe was used for future installations as the property had plenty of land and could accommodate this cheaper option. The cottages are all fitted with underfloor heating, plus oversized radiators and heated towel rails upstairs which increase the efficiency of the heat pump.

Based on the good performance of the first two units installed in 2009 and the high level of customer service provided by Kensa, Steve & Elaine purchased two more ground source heat pumps in 2011 and 2015 respectively to provide heating and hot water to a further two renovated cottages. The installations were fitted into the ongoing programme of building works at Broadgate Farm and completed within the winter months causing minimal disruption.

The installation in 2011 featured a Kensa 4kW Single Compact heat pump to heat a small two bedroom cottage, The Foldyard, and the installation in 2015 saw Kensa design a ground source heat pump system for the largest of Broadgate Farm’s cottages, The Cart House, which has four bedrooms and can sleep nine.

This cottage caters for extended families and can be sectioned off to provide privacy; as a result each section needed to be able to independently control their own heating and hot water. Kensa designed a water tank system to fulfil these requirements and specified a Kensa 17kW High Temperature Twin which is capable of meeting high hot water demands.

As the Broadgate Farm development features multiple properties that pay business rates and are rented out separately, it is eligible for the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) enabling Steve & Elaine to receive 20 years’ worth of quarterly payments from the Government based on the metered heat usage of the cottages.

Elaine said:

Being able to access the Non Domestic RHI was a bonus as it has helped us cover the costs of the ground source heat pump installations. We were the second company to qualify for the grant back in 2011 and Kensa was able to provide valuable guidance with the initial application which was useful.

Having a ground source heat pump is a unique selling point for the properties; lots of customers appreciate the fact that we have a sustainable heating system installed. We won our local Sustainable Tourism Awards in 2014, and obviously the ground source heat pump system played a big part in this victory.

I would definitely recommend ground source heat pump technology to other holiday let businesses. It is very important that our guests are warm and comfortable and have enough hot water. Kensa designed systems that deliver exactly what is needed for our business and I found that their expertise, knowledge and customer support simply couldn’t be matched by other companies.”

Key Facts

  • 6 self-catering luxury holiday cottages
  • 4 Kensa heat pumps ranging in size from 4kW – 17kW
  • Mixture of straight pipe and slinky coils
  • Eligible for the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • Installed under Kensa’s MCS Umbrella