Shropshire Rural Housing and Kensa Heat Pumps’ ambitious round of retrofit heating works under the Government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme for Social Landlords have reported significant savings for tenants following a bi-annual review.

The installation of 63 ground source heat pumps installed under the RHPP social landlords programme has resulted in tenants experiencing immediate savings on their heating costs, as Bryan Powell, Chief Executive of SRHA, explains:

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.

A small rural housing association with over 270 deeply rural homes throughout the county, SRHA’s asset management strategy demands an improvement in the thermal efficiency of their properties due to the largely off gas grid profile of their stock, which use night storage heaters as the primary heat source. Tenant complaints regarding the heaters’ running costs and lack of controllability – not delivering heat when needed – prompted SRHA to undertake a retrofit programme with the support of South West manufacturer, Kensa Heat Pumps, recently announced as the 10th fastest growing business in the South West’s Fast Growth 75 list.

Utilising the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Social Landlords Competition – a scheme set up as a precursor to the full Renewable Heat Incentive, which was subsequently launched in April), the initial cost of the ground source heat pumps were reduced, whilst attracting an income for 7 years through the Domestic RHI, creating an opportunity for Shropshire Rural Housing Association to efficiently and cost effectively transform the heating in a third of their housing stock.

Kensa co-ordinated the delivery of the works to a time sensitive schedule to ensure eligibility for the funding.

Bryan Powell, Chief Executive of SRHA, said:

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.

Kensa’s Commercial Director, Chris Davis, says that social housing providers can profitably address their housing stock’s efficiency thanks to creative approaches to new Government incentives:

The success SRHA and Kensa have achieved under RHPP Social Landlords competitions demonstrate that renewables, and in our case ground source heat pumps, have a big part to play in improving tenant comfort and lowering fuel bills whilst delivering on key objectives for the housing association.

To build on this success, Kensa has explored ways that housing associations can effectively ‘cross-subsidise’ through the RHI and ECO, notably through the innovative application of micro district heating schemes in retrofit homes, allowing housing associations to access 20 years of RHI income plus an ECO subsidy to lower the initial investment cost in the heating system. Kensa would like to invite any social landlord looking at ways to tackle fuel poverty and heating system replacement in off gas grid areas to speak to us to see whether this might work for them.

To find out more about this project see: http://www.kensaheatpumps.com/case_study/shropshire-rural-housing-retrofit/

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