Fuel poverty and tenant well being is high on the agenda for social landlords. When it comes to heating system upgrades ground source heat pumps offer tenants an easy-to-use, fit-and-forget solution delivering constant heat, improving property condition and the health of residents, whilst significantly lowering running costs and generating an income through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).


  • 20 – 25 year heat pump lifetime;
  • 100 year ground array lifetime;
  • Low lifetime ownership costs;
  • Exempt from Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014.

Rewarding heating upgrades

Commonly used to replace aging night storage heaters and costly exhaust air heat pumps, Kensa’s Shoebox ground source heat pump fits easily into an airing cupboard often underneath a new hot water cylinder to distribute renewably sourced hot water and heat via upgraded radiators, providing 100% of the property’s needs.

The ultra-low maintenance ground source heat pumps require minimal servicing or aftercare, saving social landlords time, money and inconvenience for the residents. And the reduced carbon emissions help social landlords to achieve their carbon reduction targets.


The night storage heaters were a waste of space, they didn’t stay warm. The heat pump heats up the house quickly and is easy to control using the themostat. They did a great job drilling the boreholes; I wasn’t sure how they would get into such small spaces, but even though the drill was large, you can hardly tell where they’ve been.

Tenant, Coastline Housing

Shared Ground Loop Arrays

With rising tenant energy costs, Shared Ground Loop Arrays are the ideal choice for heating system replacements in properties located off the gas grid or heated by electricity.

Featuring an individual Shoebox heat pump in every property, tenants have absolute control over their own heat and bill; significantly, this set-up negates any compliance requirements with the Heat Networks (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 as there is no central ‘communal’ heat generation.

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With a number of properties linked to the Shared Ground Loop Array, landlords are able to receive a 20 year income through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

And where the most inefficient fuels are displaced – notably electric or oil – additional funding can also be delivered through our ECO (Energy Company Obligation) funding supplier EDF Energy.

District GSHPs in tower blocks

This Kensa animation depicts the key stages for the retrofit installation of Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pumps into individual flats in tower blocks, connected to shared ground loop array boreholes.

Our Wellbeing Plan commits us to a continual improvement in our energy use and carbon footprint. This project is a fantastic example of how we can use renewable energy sources to help reduce our carbon footprint, tackle fuel poverty and support the global agreement to achieve net zero emissions by the second half of the century.

Rebecca Hazlewood, Flagship Housing Group

The heat pump solution tackled a number of issues with retrofit, namely for properties off the gas network or what we call hard-to-treat, but also trying to make sure its affordable as well, and the payback periods are good. Fuel poverty is a huge issue and if we are going to be able to make sure we have the right retrofit solutions, especially around heating, then this is an opportunity to show that we’ve addressed a very difficult area of the problem.

Awards judge John O’Brien, Director of BRE Innovation Park

Related Content

Brochures: Social housing: brochure V4

Download Kensa’s guide to ground source solutions for social housing providers with new build and retrofit projects. (Version 4)

Videos: Shared Ground Loop Array Ground Source Heat Pumps In Tower Blocks

This Kensa commissioned motion graphic depicts the key stages for the installation of Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pumps into individual flats in tower blocks, connected to shared ground loop array boreholes. For more information on this application click here.

Videos: Ground Source Heat Pump Borehole Drilling Time Lapse

Neat, quick, and efficient, this time lapse video shows the drilling of 25 communal boreholes which will feed heat to ground source heat pumps installed at 49 bungalows owned by Stonewater Housing in Burton Gardens, Weobley. The communal micro district ground source heating system qualifies for upfront ECO funding and Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive…

Videos: Case Study: Trent & Dove Housing

In Spring 2015, Trent & Dove Housing and Kensa Heat Pumps delivered the UKs most ambitious retrofit upgrades programme of its time, replacing electric night storage heating with Kensa ground source heat pumps connected to a micro heat network over 133 one and two bedroom bungalows over 15 different sites throughout Burton-upon-Trent. Key Facts £1.8m…

Case Studies: Hanover Housing Association

Ground Source Review: Hanover, Ashfield Court. This ambitious, multi-award winning Kensa Contracting managed scheme for Hanover Housing Association saw the the removal of 92 night storage heaters and 22 vented hot water cylinders from two-storey flats, and the installation of twelve communal boreholes and twenty-three ground source heat pump systems complete with unvented hot water cylinders…

Case Studies: Flagship Group, Fressingfield

Ground Source Review: Flagship Group. During Spring 2016 Kensa Contracting completed a compact and challenging heating upgrade programme for the Flagship Group featuring 11 properties on an estate in Fressingfield built in 2010. The project showcases the largest variety of communal ground source heat network designs installed on one site to date. READ IN FULL AT KENSACONTRACTING.COM

Case Studies: Coastline Housing, Wheal Vyvyan

Ground Source Review: Coastline, Wheal Vyvyan. This multi-award winning scheme between Kensa Contracting and Coastline Housing saw the replacement of night storage heaters with Kensa ground source heat pumps in twelve bungalows housing older residents in rural Cornwall; the shared ground loop array system undertaken in Cornwall. READ IN FULL AT KENSACONTRACTING.COM

Case Studies: Shropshire Rural Housing: Retrofit

Ground Source Review: Shropshire Rural Housing Retrofit. Shropshire Rural Housing Association’s successful replacement of night storage heating with Kensa ground source heat pumps in 38 social housing properties under the RHPP Fast Track scheme between October 2013 and March 2014, prompted a further 25 retrofit installations in their housing stock under the RHPP Reach Out…

Case Studies: Westward Housing, Croft House

Ground Source Review: Croft House. This landmark programme of retrofit works co-ordinated by Kensa and Tarka Housing (Westward Housing) delivered the first social housing project to feature a micro district scheme and Kensa’s unique Shoebox heat pump in retrofit flats, harnessing ECO funding, and supported by the ‘Ready for Retrofit’ (RfR) programme. Winner: Sustainable Project…

Shared Ground Loop Arrays

Kensa’s Shared Ground Loop Arrays (SGLS) are an award-winning and pioneering approach to District and Communal Heating without the drawbacks of traditional Heat Network systems. The design allows property owners and developers of two or more dwellings to realise the full potential of ground source heat pumps and receive Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)…