Micro Heat Networks

Kensa’s innovative district heating system allows social landlords to benefit from ground source heat pumps and the Non Domestic RHI in new builds as well as retrofit properties.

Kensa ground source heat pumps district heating Shoebox heat pump diagram

What is a micro heat network?

The Kensa micro heat network solution (also known as district heating), has been developed to provide a means for new builds and retrofit properties to benefit from the non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), thus mitigating the additional upfront capital costs compared with traditional heating system options.

The Kensa micro heat network solution (also known as district heating) has been developed to maximise the benefit of the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for social landlords, plus provide capital subsidy under Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Micro district drilling time lapse

Micro heat networks: Why?

Kensa’s innovative micro ground source heat network approach (also known as district heating), allows social landlords to realise the full potential of ground source heat pumps in both new builds and existing housing stock.

Designed for groups of properties, Kensa’s micro ground source heat network provides each home with its own ground source heat pump, ensuring heating and hot water independence.

The “heat network” is created by linking multiple properties to a communal ground array, designed to deliver an efficient, reliable and durable source of heat for the life of the property.

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Crucially, this approach is recognised by Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) and Ofgem as meeting the definitions of district heating, meaning both new build and retrofit installations are able to access generous payments for 20 years through the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Systems replacing electric heating in existing housing stock are also able to tap into capital subsidy support through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

With no need for a plant room, Kensa’s solution also overcomes the drawbacks of traditional “central plant” district heating systems. Efficiency is not compromised by heat loss in the distribution pipework and there is no need to meter and apportion energy bills between dwellings, thus avoiding the need to comply with Heat Network (Metering & Billing) Regulations 2014.

Micro district diagram

Micro District numbered

Micro heat networks: At a glance

1. RHI

Under DECC’s guidelines, as few as two properties linked together with a common ground array can be considered a heat network (or district) system, qualifying for the Non Domestic RHI, and in retrofit cases also the ECO.

2. Cost-effective

Drilling costs are reduced by allowing a smaller number of deeper boreholes.

3. Flexible

Boreholes can be positioned flexibly across the site, as there is no specific requirement for a borehole within the curtilage of each plot.

4. Robust

Communal nature of the array enhances design robustness, reducing risk of the ground being exhausted and allowing “diversity” to be provided across the array.

5. Scalable

Can be applied to apartment blocks, sheltered housing, clusters of terraced/semi-detached houses or bungalows.

6. Simple billing

No centralised billing; each tenant has their own energy bill meaning the system is exempt from Heat Network (Metering & Billing) Regulations 2014.

7. Controllable

Featuring an individual ground source heat pump in every property, tenants have absolute control over their own comfort levels and energy costs.

8. Compatible

Works with radiators and underfloor heating.

9. Sustainable

A Kensa ground source heat pump provides 100% of the property’s heating and domestic hot water.

10. Planning exempt

Meets permitted development rights criteria.

Multiple occupancy dwellings

Kensa’s innovative heat network (district heating) approach can also be used on a larger scale, and when combined with Kensa’s Shoebox heat pump – the world’s smallest and quietest ground source heat pump – opens up a whole world of opportunities for social housing providers with high rise buildings and apartment blocks.

The Shoebox’s advantageous size and low noise output allows for the heat pump to be fitted inside the home without disturbing the tenant, negating any requirement for costly and inconvenient plant rooms, centralised heating systems or ugly and exposed units on the roof space or at ground level.

Heat Network Regulations

Kensa’s unique system architecture inherently avoids landlords from having to comply with the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations.

How? The communal ‘district’ approach is exempt from the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 as there is no central heat generation (the “district” is formed simply by the communal ground array); each property is furnished with its own ground source heat pump so each resident is responsible for their own bill, so there is no requirement for the landlord to either apportion energy bills between residents or indeed meter heat losses through district distribution pipework.

Kensa's innovative borehole array has helped us access funding and ultimately made this project a possibility.

Ben Ashfold, General Practice Surveyor, North Devon Homes

Related Content

Brochures: Social housing: brochure v3.4

Download Kensa’s guide to ground source solutions for social housing providers with new build and retrofit projects. (Version 3.4)

Heat Networks

Kensa’s innovative approach to communal heating allows social landlords and developers to realise the full potential of ground source heat pumps and receive Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments in both new builds and existing housing stock, without the drawbacks of traditional district heating systems.