Ground Source Review: Croft House.

This landmark programme of retrofit works co-ordinated by Kensa and Tarka Housing (Westward Housing) delivered the first social housing project to feature a micro district scheme and Kensa’s unique Shoebox heat pump in retrofit flats, harnessing ECO funding, and supported by the ‘Ready for Retrofit’ (RfR) programme.

  • Winner: Sustainable Project of the Year (HVR Awards 2016)
  • Winner: Large Scale Project SW Region (Energy Efficiency & Retrofit Awards 2016)
  • Winner: South West Regional Project of the Year (Green Deal & Eco Awards 2015)
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Ground Source Review: Croft House

Following successful completion of works under the RHPP programme featuring Kensa ground source heat pumps, Tarka Housing chose to roll out a wider retrofit programme in their housing stock. Croft House, a two storey development consisting of 20 one-bed flats over five blocks, provides retirement and sheltered housing. It’s vulnerable demographic was seen as a priority for a heating system upgrade due to the poor levels of comfort and high heating bills delivered by their current night storage system.

Access to grants

Kensa and Tarka Housing were able to access an £8 million Ready for Retrofit programme for the South West to part-fund the heating upgrade. The bid was awarded based on the project ‘delivering a scheme of national significance, harnessing the best national, regional and local expertise and experience and delivering the best economic and carbon reduction outcomes’.

As the scheme was subject to a capital grant through the Ready for Retrofit initiative, Croft House is not able to claim the Non Domestic RHI, however in all other respects the system meets the RHI’s requirements, and is thus being used as a blue print for future schemes where RfR funding is not available. The scheme is however eligible for ECO funding, and is the first ever micro district ground source heat pump scheme to receive an ECO subsidy through the CSCO stream, due to the rural location of the site.


Utilising Kensa’s innovative micro district system and the brand new Kensa Shoebox Twin ground source heat pump, Croft House would be the first retrofit social housing flat development to feature individual heat pumps in each dwelling connected to a communal ground array; this new type of system architecture developed by Kensa Heat Pumps, has been verified by Ofgem as meeting their definition for a district heating system.

The scheme at Croft House was also the first to feature Kensa Heat Pumps’ newest product innovation, The Shoebox Twin. A 6kW compact ground source heat pump, the Shoebox range offers the first ground source heat pumps that can be fitted inside a dwelling. Located inside the airing cupboard in each flat at Croft House, the Kensa Shoebox heat pump silently delivers renewable heat to the tenant all year round.

The Croft House retrofit scheme features 10 district heating systems, each system consisting of a single, double probe communal borehole each measuring 95m deep. Each district heating system serves two flats, and thus two Shoebox Twin heat pumps. This approach overcomes all of the drawbacks of traditional “central plant” district heating systems, saving Tarka Housing the costs and loss of rentable space with the construction of a separate plantroom.

Kensa’s products have been proven to perform efficiently and effectively and we have already received glowing praise from our customers regarding the real savings they are making on their electricity bills since the ground source heat pumps have been installed.

Tarka Housing

Customers at the Croft House development have described the process of the installation works as a “pleasure”.

The work has proceeded very well; any task that needed to be done has been done without question. Congratulations to all – it has been a pleasure.

Jean Gregory, 82, who has lived at Croft House for 22 years.

I have checked my meter for the last month and it was £20, whereas it was £40 or £50 a month before. You are bound to save lots of money with the ground source heating system.

Jim Porter, 57, who has been a Westward tenant for eight months. 

I’ve lived with many heating systems, but ground source has to be my favourite; it provides a nice, gentle, constant heat that keeps my home really comfortable. I am very pleased to have it.

Deirdre Winfield, 83, and her son Robin, 59, live in separate flats at Croft House.


Further information:

Find out more about Westward Housing and Kensa’s retrofit ground source heat pump scheme in flats with these handy tools:

'Tenant Tales' video: Click here

  • Watch the project through the tenant's eyes with commentary from Westward Housing tenants

Project overview video: Click here

  • Understand the projects' goals, challenges, and outcomes

'Tenant Tales' case study: Click here

  • Download a tenant's tale of the project as a pdf

Key Facts

  • Social housing refurb project
  • 20 flats, fitted with individual Kensa 6kW Shoebox heat pumps
  • Displacing electric heating
  • £40k ECO subsidy as an eligible district heating measure
  • Exemplar scheme – blue print for future schemes co-funded by Non Domestic RHI and ECO
  • First installation of Kensa's 6kW Twin Shoebox Heat Pump
  • Winner: 'South West Regional Project of the Year' (Green Deal & Eco Awards 2015)
  • Finalist: 'Innovative Energy-Efficient Project' (Environment & Energy Awards 2015)
  • Shortlisted: 'Best Renewable Energy Scheme' (Regen SW Green Energy Awards 2015)