Case study: Shropshire Housing Group, St Mary’s Place

St Mary’s Place and College Close is a sheltered housing scheme comprising twenty two 1 & 2 bedroom bungalows, one flat, a communal room, and eight further 3 bedroom semi-detached properties.

St Mary’s Place will feature individual Kensa heat pumps using a shared ground loop for every three to five properties, ensuring eligibility for ECO funding and commercial RHI. College Close will feature individual boreholes and will receive the domestic RHI.

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St Mary’s Place is a sheltered housing scheme comprising twenty two 1 & 2 bedroom bungalow, one flat, a communal room with general needs, and eight 3 bedroom houses on the adjoining College Close estate.

St Mary’s Place has electric storage heating and immersion hot water systems installed in 1997.  These systems have an expected 20 year life and are therefore scheduled for replacement during the current financial year. Two of the households at St Mary’s Place expressed dissatisfaction with their existing heating system on our Quality of Home survey.

College Close has a mix of solid fuel and electric storage heating, with the exception of No 14, where Shropshire Housing installed ground source heating in 2012.

The proposal for St Mary’s Place is based on individual Kensa heat pumps using a shared ground loop for every three to five properties, meaning the scheme would qualify for ECO funding and commercial RHI, paid over twenty years. This is partly based on the fact it is an open plan site, with insufficient curtilage per bungalow to facilitate individual boreholes.

College Close comprises three bedroom semi-detached houses with adequate space within each curtilage for individual boreholes, making the installations eligible for receipt of domestic RHI, which is paid over seven years.

Due to the lack of available storage space within the properties, the heat pumps are to be installed externally within purpose built enclosures provided locally by GSM.

Bernard Quinn, Asset Manager for Shropshire Housing Group explains the main advantages/outcomes expected from the project:

  • Helping meet our Decent Homes objectives
  • Helping meet our Affordable Warmth objectives
  • Helping meet our energy efficiency/carbon reduction objectives
  • Helping meet our customer satisfaction/quality of home objectives
  • Experience at similar projects elsewhere in the Group has shown a significant improvement in letability of rural properties with renewable heating systems over traditional solid fuel back boiler heating and electric storage heating

Bernard continues:

Our Asset Management Strategy includes a vision for the housing stock to be in good repair. This means planning to replace components such as central heating systems at the end of their useful life. The installation of ground source heat pump central heating will help deliver this vision. In addition we have a target to reduce our carbon footprint and tackle fuel poverty in our off gas properties. The proposal goes some way to help meet these ambitions.

Detailed consultation with residents took place prior to commissioning the work. Feedback has been very positive, as there is general dissatisfaction with electric storage and solid fuel heating systems and residents welcome the opportunity to have new controllable and affordable central heating systems in their homes.

Project progress:

The project is currently in progress. For updates subscribe to Kensa’s newsletter here.


Key Facts

  • Mixed properties: Bungalows, flats, semi's, communal room
  • Mixed funding: Commercial RHI, ECO & Domestic RHI
  • Mixed arrays: Borehole micro district heat network & individual boreholes
  • Mixed upgrade: Replacing solid fuel & night storage heaters