Owners and operators of holiday accommodation could be saving thousands in energy costs and generating a profitable additional income stream by adopting renewable heating options.

With many sites being without access to mains gas, owners of holiday accommodation are often limited to more expensive energy sources such as electricity or LPG to provide heat and hot water to their accommodation and other site buildings.

Following the Government’s recent announcement to extend funding support for renewable heat under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) until 2021, owners of holiday accommodation would do well to consider ground source heat pumps as a more affordable and environmentally friendly alternative, says Kensa Heat Pumps, whose holiday park customers are reporting substantial savings and income as a result of their ground source heat pump systems.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a Government funded scheme which rewards the owners of renewable heating systems such as ground source heat pumps. The Non Domestic RHI, designed for commercial renewable installations, provides owners with index-linked quarterly payments for 20 years based on the heat that their system produces.

The current tariff for ground source heat pumps is 9.1p per kilowatt hour of heat energy produced – this is more than twice the cost per kilowatt hour to run the heat pump system! Given the cost to run a ground source heat pump system is typically 75% less than electric of LPG, this means that owners of holiday accommodation can get paid to cost effectively generate heat and hot water all year round and even keep their properties warm when unoccupied, helping to mitigate problems with damp, providing a warm welcome for the next set of guests.

Non Domestic RHI key facts:

  • Quarterly payments for 20 years
  • Based on metered heat consumption
  • At a rate of 9.1p/kWh of heat produced
  • Once on the scheme, you are locked in to the prevailing tariff rate
  • The RHI is enshrined in law and open to new installations until 2021

Take a look at how two very different holiday accommodation businesses are benefitting from ground source heat pumps funded by the Non Domestic RHI.


Secret Yurts campsite, Wales – www.thesecretyurts.co.uk

Key facts:

  • Kensa 21kW Hybrid Twin, plus solar thermal
  • 6 acre holiday development with holiday cottage and luxury yurts
  • Kensa ground source heat pump, plus solar thermal
  • Heating the farmhouse, holiday cottage and communal facilities block
  • x4 boreholes to extract heat energy from the ground
  • Receiving 20 years of quarterly payments from the Non Domestic RHI



Terry and Tracey Phillips run a holiday business in the heart of the Welsh countryside offering visitors the option to stay in a recently refurbished holiday cottage or experience ‘glamping’ in their own luxury yurt complete with underfloor heating, private bathrooms and showers.

They were looking to replace the old oil-fired boiler heating their family farmhouse and holiday cottage as it was expensive to run and they had problems getting supplies in bad weather due to their rural location. The Phillips’ had also recently built a communal facilities block for their guests, including a fully fitted kitchen, plus a hot tub, for which they also needed a heating solution.

The Phillips’ were keen to develop their green credentials, which already included a rainwater harvesting system, so that their customers could enjoy a holiday in the UK with a low carbon footprint.

Terry said:

Living where we do, surrounded by rolling Welsh hills, we are very conscious that our luxury holiday accommodation should strive towards being eco-friendly. To do this we decided we wanted a heating system that paired technological innovation with natural resources. It is also very important for our guests to be comfortable during their stay with access to a constant supply of heating and hot water.

Digging deeper

After consulting with an installer of renewable technology, the Phillips’ decided on a ground source heat pump because it offered low running costs and a reliable heat supply. They were recommended a 21kW Hybrid Twin ground source heat pump manufactured by UK market leader Kensa, capable of delivering the high levels of heating and hot water needed to keep guests warm and comfortable.

Due to the development being located on the side of a hill on which trees were planted, there was not enough flat land available in which to dig trenches for the pipework often used to harness heat from the ground. The installer instead drilled four boreholes from which to extract the heat energy in a way that required less open space and did not disrupt the beautiful natural environment.

The Phillips’ family farmhouse is a 200 year old stone cottage with minimal insulation, so to ensure that the heat pump achieved the required temperature, some of their existing radiators were replaced. It was particularly important to ensure that the hot water never ran out, as the Phillips’ are a family of six, plus the guests staying in the holiday cottage and yurt campsite created a high demand for hot water.  Kensa’s Hybrid model was the perfect solution due to its ability to deliver heat and hot water 65°C, whilst maintaining the efficiency of lower temperature models.

In order to further increase the efficiency of the system, solar thermal panels were also installed on the roof to collect solar energy, which contribute to ensuring the heating and hot water load is fulfilled all year round. Underfloor heating was also installed into the newly built facilities block which further enhances the efficiency of the ground source heat pump.

The results

Terry and Tracey are delighted with their ground source heat pump which compliments the existing green credentials of their holiday business. They said:

Our Kensa ground heat pump is now in operation for its second winter and has experienced external temperatures down to -6°.  Our family and guests staying at ‘The Secret Yurts’ have always had ample hot water, our house is warm throughout the year for the first time ever and we don’t have to worry about buying oil!

The borehole installation was great with virtually no disruption to our land and no messy digging. We would recommend such an installation to anybody considering moving to a renewable heating system.


Broadgate Farm holiday cottages, East Yorkshire – www.broadgatefarmcottages.co.uk

Key Facts:

  • 6 self-catering luxury holiday cottages
  • 4 Kensa ground source heat pumps ranging in size from 4kW – 17kW
  • Mixture of straight pipe and slinky coils to extract heat energy from the ground
  • Receiving quarterly payments for 20 years from the Non Domestic RHI
  • Installed under Kensa’s MCS Umbrella


broadgate crop

Steve Holtby & Elaine Robinson bought the 19 acre Broadgate Farm site in Beverley in 2006. The farm site consisted of numerous outbuildings and old barns that were in various states of disrepair, so 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 LPG or oil, which Elaine & Steve knew would be expensive. 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.

Elaine said:

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 2015 and 16, and obviously the ground source heat pumps played a big part in this victory.

Digging deeper

The first two heat pumps that Steve and Elaine 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.

Steve 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. To harness heat from the ground, coiled slinky pipe was installed in trenches underneath a nearby field. Steve and Elaine decided to use straight pipe for future installations due to having ample land. The cottages are all fitted with underfloor heating, plus oversized radiators and heated towel rails upstairs, which increase the efficiency of the ground source heat pump.

Based on the performance of the first two units installed in 2009, 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 results

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.

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.


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