Ground Source Review: Shropshire Rural Housing Retrofit.

Shropshire Rural Housing Association’s successful replacement of night storage heating with Kensa ground source heat pumps in 38 social housing properties under the RHPP Fast Track scheme between October 2013 and March 2014, prompted a further 25 retrofit installations in their housing stock under the RHPP Reach Out scheme between April and June 2014.

  • Winner: Best small client (NHMF Maintenance Awards 2017)
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Ground Source Review: Shropshire Rural Housing Retrofit

Shropshire Rural Housing Association (SRHA) is a small rural housing association with over 270 deeply rural homes throughout the county.   Since 2005 Shropshire Rural Housing’s asset management strategy has concentrated on improving the thermal efficiency of their properties through improvements.  As the majority of their rural homes are off the gas grid they are heated by electric storage heaters. These heaters have been unpopular due to the cost of running the heaters and lack of controllability – not delivering heat when needed.

Despite a nine year investment programme to improve the thermal efficiency of their homes, including upgrading insulation and replacement double glazing and external doors, the Association knew they had to replace the storage heaters to achieve better efficiency, but with no access to mains gas the options were limited and unaffordable.

In the summer of 2013 Government announced the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme competition would be extended to Housing Associations. This RHPP funding would lower the initial cost of a ground source heat pump project in social housing, whilst attracting an income for 7 years through the Domestic RHI; the opportunity for Shropshire Rural Housing Association to efficiently and cost effectively transform the heating in a quarter of their housing stock was realised, and they started working up their RHPP bid working closely with Kensa, who undertook all the necessary surveys and prepared quotations for submission of the bid. With Kensa’s help SRHA were successful and a contract was signed to install the heating in 38 homes under the 'Fast Track' programme.

To secure the RHPP funding, the SRHA project offered value for money, energy savings, deliverability, and community engagement. The RHPP retrofit programme enabled the wide scale adoption of ground source heat pumps into SRHA's housing stock, helping to drive down fuel poverty and fuel costs for vulnerable tenants, whilst delivering an economically sound solution to the Housing Association thanks to the RHPP funding and access to the Domestic RHI.

Set against tight project completion deadlines for the DECC funded scheme,Kensa co-ordinated the delivery of the works to a time sensitive schedule to ensure eligibility for the funding. The 38 retrofit installations were swiftly carried out between October 2013 and March 2014.

With each ground source heat pump safely stowed away in a custom built shelter constructed from recycled plastic, the units are not only protected from the elements and possible vandalism, but also allow ease of access for SRHA's asset management team without the need for access to the property.

The objective of undertaking the installation of ground source heat pump systems in our homes is to give our tenants control over their heating, reduce their energy costs and invest in modern low carbon technology to reduce our carbon footprint. Feedback from our tenants has confirmed that this has been achieved as they now have control over their heating using the system to deliver better comfort levels at a reduced cost.

Bryan Powell Chief Executive of SRHA

Following the successful result of the bid for the first phase, a decision was taken to make a further bid under the RHPP Reach Out programme for a further 25 homes.  After being awarded the funding, Kensa ground source heat pumps were installed in the additional 25 homes in June 2014, replacing the previous night storage heaters.

This was an ambitious programme, for a business of our size, to help deliver affordable warmth to our customers.  We feel that the substantial investment has proved to be very worthwhile and has met our objectives.  We now have 89 homes – a third of our stock - heated in this manner delivering real benefits to our customers the Association and the environment.

Bryan Powell Chief Executive of SRHA

Key Facts

  • Retrofit
  • Social Housing
  • Semis Detached Housing & Bungalows
  • 63 installations in total
  • 80 - 100m individual borehole ground arrays
  • 4.3kW & 6.2kW Kensa High Temperature Single Compact heat pumps
  • Displacing electricity - night storage
  • Radiator heating distribution system
  • Average unit size 50-80m²
  • Fast Track & Reach Out RHPP Programme
  • £235,000 RHPP Fast Track & £171,000 Reach Out grant value