Kensa Present the Benefits of Using Ground Source Heat Pumps for Housing Association, Council and Local Authority Retrofit Schemes

February 2, 2011

EXETER, England, Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Ground source heat pumps are a compelling technology for social housing providers looking to develop or upgrade properties to meet more stringent regulatory requirements. Kensa is a renewable energy manufacturer with an objective to remove any ‘mystery’ linked to heat pump technology and the installation of a heat pump system.

Now is the time for local authorities and developers to start planning the roll out of ground source heat pumps to ensure their existing housing stock can benefit in time for the next heating season. The primary benefits of a ground source heat pump include:

  • Reduction in fuel cost for tenants, especially in off gas areas,
  • Reduced maintenance cost for owners,
  • For new builds the use of High Temperature GSHP’s can provide 100% of the heating and hot water demand of the property which can significantly help towards achieving Code 4.
  • Large Carbon Savings, as well as…
  • The potentially lucrative income from the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments are to be claimed by, and paid to, the owner of the renewable equipment. The RHI will be available to householders, local authorities and social landlords as well as the public, industrial and commercial sectors. It has been confirmed that ALL installations commissioned after 15th July 2009 will be seen as a “new installation” and will be eligible for the RHI. To find out more about the anticipated RHI payments, visit the Kensa Engineering website and download the RHI Factsheet.

Despite all of these benefits, ground source heat pump systems, particularly the design of the ground arrays, need to be handled correctly and this requires some expertise even if the subsequent installation is very straightforward.

Without doubt, the most challenging element to any project is the ‘application engineering’ to ensure the correct sizing of the ground arrays, heat pump and distribution system. SAP reports can be used to size the heat pump but determining the depth of the borehole, or the length of any horizontal ‘Slinky’ trenches, is far more demanding, partly because of the UK’s huge geological diversity.

Fortunately, there are software programmers, and an emerging band of specialist designers with background in thermo-geology, who can provide a design service to ensure the drilling contractors are not charging for unnecessary borehole depth.

In addition, many drilling contractors are beginning to specialise in geothermal drilling and are recognising that they need to also provide a trenching service (to link the borehole to the manifold location on the building perimeter) and a concrete platform to accommodate the heat pump itself. In some cases, innovative contractors are offering to install the heat pump leaving a separate contractor to perform the internal works.

Certainly, the installation of a heat pump is straightforward and can be performed by any contractor capable of installing a gas boiler. In order to comply with grant requirements, the installation must be handled by an MCS-accredited contractor, a status not held by many plumbers. Thankfully, Kensa is an MCS-accredited installer so can work alongside any local contractor to provide a complete service via our remote commissioning service.

Before anyone can commit to specifying a ground source heat pump, it is important to establish whether ground source is a feasible option. This can be established by answering a few simple questions:

1. Is there sufficient land available to install the required ground loops?

Energy for the heat pump must be extracted from the ground. In most social housing applications the external space is limited, so it likely the borehole route will be used. Each property will need access to an area suitable for locating the boreholes, and must be accessible to digging machinery. Geothermal Borehole drilling is a specialist discipline; Kensa can make recommendations for suitable contractors if required.

As the mobilization cost of drilling rigs is a high proportion of the total installation cost, it is generally most cost effective to do a number of properties in a single phase of works, economies of scale will reduce the cost per property the more bore holes are drilled.

2. Is the building going to be well insulated?

Since ground source heat pumps produce a lower temperature heat than traditional boilers, it’s essential that all reasonable fabric improvements are made in terms of insulation and draught proofed for the heating system to be effective. Download the Kensa Factsheet which outlines the importance of a well insulated building.

3. What sort of heating distribution system is currently in place, or what heating distribution system is proposed?

Generally in a retrofit scenario the cost of UFH is prohibitive therefore radiators have to be used. Heat Pumps can work effectively with radiators proving the system is designed with the lower flow temperature, circa 50 degrees C. Kensa heat pumps can also be configured to provide all of the heating and domestic hot water needs for a property.

4. What level of financial commitment can be given to installing a ground source heat pump?

Costs of installing ground source heat pump will depend on the size of the property and the insulation measures in place and the volume of house to be installed.

For a budget price for a retro fit scheme, please submit a property list, along with floor areas, and ideally SAP calculations. Alternatively call the Kensa sales office on 01392 826022 to discuss.

Running costs will depend on a number of factors as above, and also the usage behaviour of the tenant. If the heat pump is used to replace oil, night storage, or solid fuel. The running cost saving to the tenant will be significant, however, some education will be required to ensure they use the system effectively and retain the greatest running cost saving.

One it has been decided that a ground source heat pump is a feasible option for a project, the benefits and key issues to installing a ground source heat pump should be explored. For further information, follow the below links.

To find out more about Kensa Heat Pumps, click on one of the below links:-

Notes to Editors

About Kensa Engineering

Kensa Engineering Limited is a Truro-based manufacturer of ground source heat pumps and related accessories. Established in 1999, Kensa supplies the UK’s widest product range to satisfy all residential and commercial applications.

Accolades for Kensa have included the 2008 Ashden Award for UK Business of the Year, the 2009 Housing Excellence Award for Product of the Year and the 2009 Corgi Live Green Manufacturer of the Year award.

SOURCE Kensa Engineering

Source: newswire

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