Case study: East Shaftoe Farm

David Robson decided to have a pair of 16kW Kensa Twin Compact heat pumps installed to provide heating and hot water to his 12th century farmhouse and multiple outbuildings, replacing an old oil boiler.

 

 

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Mr Robson’s family have lived and worked on East Shaftoe Farm in Morpeth, Northumberland for over 110 years growing a number of different crops.

The farm was already generating renewable energy through a wind turbine and solar panel system when Mr Robson decided to look into adding a ground source heat pump to replace the old oil boiler heating the farmhouse and multiple outbuildings.

As well as the cost savings of replacing oil, one of the reasons he decided to install the ground source heat pump was the income that it would generate from the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). As the farm is a business, it is eligible for the tariff which enables the Robsons’ to receive 20 years’ worth of quarterly payments from the Government based on the buildings’ metered heat usage.

Mr Robson approached Kensa Partner Installer, Calibrate Energy, who specialise in agricultural installations after seeing them featured in Agrimart magazine.

Calibrate was able to design a ground source heat pump system featuring two Kensa 16kW Twin Compact heat pumps located in a specially created shed. A bespoke controller was used to integrate the system with the existing wind and solar technologies providing power for the ground source heat pump. Efficiency was further maximised with the installation of large water tanks. Now 100% of the sites’ energy needs are currently supplied by renewable technologies.

East Shaftoe Farm now produces as much energy as it uses, allowing the Robsons’ to access the highest renewable tariffs and receive 25% more payback than they previously obtained. The sophisticated online control system allows them to keep track of their energy consumption and tariffs in real-time.

The set-up is also readied for future connection to a hydroponics system to allow the Robson’s to grow vegetables under lights without soil.

Mr Robson had land available underneath an old mill pond which was dug out to reveal the area for the required 50m of slinky pipe to be laid. Whilst this was underway, the 14-tonne digger discovered a hoard of 26 old coins of all shapes and sizes, some of which dated back to the 1600s. Work had to stop temporarily, and while proper investigation is still to take place, it is estimated that the haul is worth around £5,000.

Another challenge of the installation was integrating the ground source heat pump system with the 40 year old radiator system in the farmhouse.

David Robson said:

It is great to uncover more of our family history and a testament to Calibrate Energy’s respect and care for the site that such small coins were discovered when you take into account the large scale of this project.

Employing Calibrate Energy was a great decision; they delivered to budget, ahead of time and the result is an easy to operate ground source solution that encompasses the whole site. We have future business potential with the hydroponics and a control package that operates all of our renewable technology. All in all, this is an outstanding solution for us and I would recommend it to fellow farmers and business owners.

Shane McDonald, Director of Calibrate Energy, said:

We were delighted to be able to provide this integrated solution at East Shaftoe Farm, allowing the owners to become completely energy sufficient and access the highest tier of tariff through the Non Domestic RHI.  We are confident that this solution will achieve payback within five years and estimate that the income and savings generated over the next 20 years will be more than £288,000.

Mr Robson and his family have been fantastic to deal with throughout and finding such an interesting piece of family history really topped off a successful project.

Key Facts

  • Two 16kW Kensa Twin Compact Heat Pumps
  • 400m₂ farmhouse plus multiple out-buildings
  • 50m slinky pipes laid in dug out mill pond
  • Displacing oil radiator system
  • Estimated payback on investment within 5 years
  • £288,000 estimated income and cost savings
  • Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • Kensa Partner Installer: Calibrate Energy