Borehole drilling rig

The UK’s most ambitious retrofit upgrades programme featuring ground source heat pumps in social housing is set to halve the energy costs of over 130 residents following a landmark scheme delivered by Trent & Dove Housing and Cornish ground source heat pump manufacturer, Kensa Heat Pumps.

Thanks to a pioneering system devised by Kensa Heat Pumps, the scheme will be the UK’s largest example of “micro district” ground source heat networks retrofitted into existing properties – all within a challenging three month schedule.

Spread across a total of 15 different sites, the scheme will see the replacement of night storage heaters in up to 133 one and two bedroom bungalows. The heat pumps will be connected to Kensa’s innovative “ground source heat network” system, harnessing support funding through a combination of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI: this scheme has now closed – please visit this page to explore other funding).

The “ground source heat network” design sees a quiet Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pump and new radiator based heating system installed inside each dwelling and connected to a network of communal ground arrays on each site, typically with every pair of bungalows sharing a communal borehole.  The ground source heat pumps installed within each property’s airing cupboard provide 100% of the heating and domestic hot water requirements, and are expected to halve the tenants’ heating costs compared with the electric heating systems that are to be replaced.

Commenting on the scheme, Trent & Dove Housing Director of Property Services, Steve Grocock explains:

“As an organisation we are committed to providing our tenants with homes which are comfortable, warm and energy efficient. Over the past three years we have invested heavily in our ‘harder to heat’ properties and the addition of ground source heat pumps to some of our more rural homes should help our tenants, many of whom are elderly or vulnerable, make significant savings on their energy bills.

“Whilst figures will vary from home to home we expect an average saving per property of up to £350 per year”.

Ground Source Heat Pump installation at Trent & Dove (1)The semi-rural locations of the sites, which are located primarily around the Burton-upon-Trent region of Staffordshire, enables the works to attract ECO funding through Kensa’s recently announced partnership with EDF Energy.  In addition, the systems will be eligible for the Non-Domestic RHI (this scheme has now closed), which supports residential district heating systems, further mitigating costs for the social housing provider.

Kensa’s Commercial Director, Chris Davis, said: “The unique combination of ECO funding and the Non-Domestic RHI (this scheme has now closed) provide a viable and attractive opportunity for social landlords to tackle the issue of fuel poverty in off gas grid housing stock using ground source heat pumps.  Residents will benefit from reduced heating bills, while Trent and Dove are able to provide a business case that provides a long term return on their investment.  We are delighted that Trent & Dove are leading the way with such a significant and broad-reaching scheme.”

The “ground source heat network” approach not only provides unique access to two separate funding streams, but also provides a number of key benefits to tenants when compared to traditional district heating systems; each dwelling receives its own electricity bill, so there is no need for the landlord to apportion costs among tenants, there is no loss of efficiency through heat losses over the ‘district’, and the landlord does not have to find space for a plant room.

The scheme is expected to be completed at the end of April 2015.

For more information on Kensa’s ground source heat networks and opportunities for social landlords, visit

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