Kensa Group has been longlisted for the Ashden Award for Climate Innovation for a groundbreaking renewable heating upgrade project with Together Housing. As part of the project, homes across the North of England had their old heating systems replaced with ground source heat pumps.

Ashden history: championing climate action

Ashden, a UK charity, has been supporting transformative climate solutions for 20 years – advocating for the most exciting climate innovators. More than 800 organisations applied for the 2021 Ashden Awards, and Kensa is one of just 38 to have made it to the longlisting stage.

Kensa previously won the Ashden Awards back in 2008 in the Sustainable Buildings category. We were awarded for pioneering the adoption of ground source heat pump technology in the UK with award-winning British-made products.

New heating for a better future

The project itself is impressive. Since 2018, Kensa Contracting and housing association, Together Housing, have been on a mission to tackle fuel poverty and reduce the carbon footprint of the social landlord’s property portfolio.

The three-year ongoing project is the largest retrofit ground source heat pump programme of its kind to date. Over 1,200 of Kensa’s ground source heat pumps have been installed in social housing residences at 12 locations across Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Touching on the project’s ambitions, Patrick Berry, Managing Director of Together Energy, explains:

The ground source heat pump investment forms part of a strategic energy plan to improve affordability of stock for tenants, reduce carbon and take advantage of existing incentives and emerging energy markets.

Together Housing Elland

The scheme has increased comfort levels and lowered heating costs by an average of 45% for hundreds of residents, a high proportion of whom are vulnerable. Many tenants have given positive feedback, with one commenting:

The new heating system is amazing, before it was so difficult to heat up more than one room in my home, but now I don’t have to worry about that.

The key to decarbonisation

The ground source heating systems will significantly cut carbon emissions in Together Housing’s property portfolio. The total lifetime carbon savings of the project is calculated as upwards of 44,858tCO2.

David Broom, Commercial Director of Kensa Contracting, says:

Kensa has pioneered the use of ground source heat pumps in social housing, developing capability to deliver increasingly ambitious market-leading projects, and our work with Together Housing is the largest of its kind delivered to date.

This scheme has been a true partnership of client and contractor working to achieve a shared goal of decarbonisation, reducing fuel poverty and providing affordable comfortable homes, through the adoption of British-manufactured renewable technology.

Over the past 13 years, Kensa Group has increased its capability and capacity to fulfil the rapidly expanding UK heat pump market. We continue to innovate, developing expert installation solutions to enable the large-scale deployment of ground source heat pumps within the social housing sector.

Installation of a Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pump

Recognising green & future-worthy tech

The award itself will target key areas with the potential to unlock significant carbon savings across the UK – including advances in energy systems (particularly heating), the built environment, and industrial innovation supporting a circular economy.

Ashden’s CEO, Harriet Lamb, says:

In the year that governments, climate innovators and activists gather at the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, these inspiring climate champions demonstrate the many solutions that can be replicated at scale and speed.

The Ashden Awards focus on cutting-edge initiatives that are both green and fair – that deliver climate justice, create good jobs, train people in green skills, and cut carbon.

This year we have an amazing array of initiatives to choose from and judging is going to be tough! We cannot wait to showcase their outstanding innovations to the world when we announce the winners this autumn.

Through its awards and ongoing networking and support, Ashden spotlights and supports climate and energy innovators around the world – including businesses, non-profits and public sector organisations delivering proven, ready-to-scale climate solutions.

Award winners will be announced this Autumn after a rigorous assessment and judging process involving on-the-ground visits and input from sector experts.

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