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) payments for both new builds and existing housing stock, attracting external funding opportunities for fully funded ground arrays and ultra-low cost heat pumps.

Ambient Shared Ground Loop Arrays

What are Shared Ground Loop Arrays?

Kensa’s Shared Ground Loop Arrays (SGLs) are a form of ultra-low temperature Heat Network for use with Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pumps.

Mimicking a traditional gas framework, a series of ground arrays, typically boreholes, are linked together to form a shared ground loop array acting as a heat energy source to multiple properties (District Heating) or multiple occupancy buildings (Communal Heating).

The shared ground loop system circulates throughout the building at ambient temperatures (-5°C to 20°C), transferring low grade heat energy from the ground to individual Shoebox ground source heat pumps located inside each individual dwelling.

Each Shoebox ground source heat pump then upgrades the ground’s heat energy to provide independently controllable heat and hot water to the property.

Benefits of Shared Ground Loop Arrays

  • Carbon compliance
  • Planning exempt
  • System compatibility
  • No plant room
  • District and communal
  • Robust and reliable
  • Flexible and scalable

Benefits: In Detail

Hover over the below interative image to find out more about the unique benefits of Shared Ground Loop Arrays from Kensa.

Shared Ground Loops Vs Heat Networks

Connecting individual Kensa Shoebox heat pumps installed within multiple dwellings (District or Communal) to a Shared Ground Loop Array circulating at a low temperature provides a unique and technically robust Heat Network, which in addition to qualifying for 20 years of income through the Non Domestic RHI, also offers significant operational benefits over traditional district Heat Networks.

The decentralised approach means that there are no heat losses through the distribution pipework as the circulated heat through the Shared Ground Loop Array is at ambient temperature, with high-grade heat only generated at the point of use, and only when required; unlike traditional Heat Networks where heat is generated in a central plant and then circulated continually throughout the building, thus leading to heat losses and overheating.

As such, with Kensa’s Shared Ground Loop Arrays there are no heat losses from the system to contribute to overheating in risers and corridors. Furthermore, as the cold side infrastructure extends all of the way to the individual dwelling, it is easy to add passive cooling to the system.

Crucially, as each dwelling has its own ground source heat pump wired to its own electricity supply, the occupant is in full control of their heating, and billed independently; no tie-in’s to Heat Network contracts or issues of split billing, and complete freedom to switch energy supplier to ensure the best deal.

How It Works

In Theory

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

In Practice

This Kensa time lapse shows the drilling of 25 shared ground loop boreholes for Kensa Shoebox heat pumps in 49 bungalows owned by Stonewater Housing in Weobley (read the case study here).

Typical Examples

Kensa’s Shared Ground Loop Arrays are suited to as few as two properties, although they are most common in medium to large scale projects (10+ dwellings).

Click the links below to learn more about these typical applications:

New build developments

Retrofit social housing

Holiday lodges

The RHI and SGLs

The ‘district’ nature of Shared Ground Loop Arrays qualify them to receive 20 years of guaranteed quarterly income via the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

This guaranteed tax free income provides a return on investment, creating the opportunity for developers and property owners to confidently invest in Shared Ground Loop Arrays, or attract external funders to own the ground array and receive the RHI in return, thus lowering the upfront cost of the installation.

Non Domestic RHI payments for residential properties linked to shared ground loops are paid on the deemed heat consumption taken from the property’s Energy Performance Certificate.  This arrangement mirrors previous policy for stand-alone ground source heat pump installations supported by the Domestic RHI, and gives certainty to the owner of the ground array and recipient of the RHI income.

Self Financed SGLs

With a guaranteed 20 year income stream via the Non Domestic RHI, self-financing Shared Ground Loop Arrays are a great option if capital is available to cover the entire project installation costs.

The property owner owns the entire system; the heat pumps, internal heating distribution system, and the external pipework and ground arrays.

Funded SGLs (Split Ownership)

Kensa has developed an innovative funding and delivery model, where the cost of the Shared Ground Loop Array is no longer borne by the house builder or owner.

Kensa will design, supply, install and own the shared ground loop array; in return Kensa will receive an income via the Non Domestic RHI, plus a connection charge to the house purchasers (equivalent to the gas standing charge).

The heat pumps and internal heating distribution system will remain the property of the property owner.

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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.

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