A rural new build development straddling England and Wales is the fourth project by Shropshire Rural Housing Association (SRHA) to feature ground source heat pumps, delivering on its commitment to provide affordable warmth to its 300-strong housing stock.
The high specification development of new family homes in Llanymynech is built in the carpark of the former Lion Hotel, which famously was divided through the building by the national border, resulting in a front bar in Wales and back bar in England.
Consisting of two, three and four bedroom detached and semi-detached family homes, let at rates to meet local needs, each house at Llanymynech has its own British manufactured Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pump installed in under stairs cupboards. Each heat pump is connected to a single district ground array in the centre of the development which consists of four boreholes drilled to depths of 122 meters. The district nature of the ground array means the scheme qualifies for 20 years of income via the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, forecast to return £63k against the investment of £56k, whilst saving residents 15-20% compared to oil or LPG alternatives.
However, the nature of the small development brought disproportionate challenges, as Ian Richardson, Shropshire Rural Housing Association Chief Executive comments:
“Llanymynech presented a number of challenges: the brownfield site was tightly confined and in a conservation area, bordered by other residential properties and a church, and immediately abutting another building project. To compound the difficulties of this site, a right of access for vehicles and pedestrians needed to be maintained at all times. Working closely with our main contractor, Pickstock Homes, Kensa Heat Pumps and their drilling sub-contractor completed the work in exemplary fashion.”
Nick Scott, Managing Director of Pickstock Homes, comments: “We found working with Kensa to be an excellent, positive experience, from the initial design stages through installation, commissioning and completion. Although the site was quite constrained, with limited space available on site, Kensa’s installation team arrived on schedule and completed the installation, working with our site manager to minimise any disruption and delay to our construction programme.”
Rural Shropshire is largely off the gas grid, demanding a more considered heating approach to reduce carbon emissions and resident energy bills. In just three years Shropshire Rural Housing Association and Kensa Heat Pumps have completed three new build schemes and one retrofit scheme all featuring Kensa ground source heat pumps, equating to over 50% of all of Shropshire Rural Housing Association’s stock.
David Broom, Technical Sales Manager for Kensa comments: “Changes to the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs have created opportunities in the social housing sector for district ground source heat pump systems. Shropshire Rural are one of our longest standing customers, and they are early pioneers, very quickly realising that such systems are technically robust and can be delivered at lower capital cost when compared to ‘stand alone’ single property installations, ideal for clusters of rural properties such as those in Shropshire Rural’s portfolio.
“Furthermore, the long term financial returns are compelling; GSHP-based systems deliver the lowest running costs to the tenant and the lowest lifetime ownership costs for the landlord; and of course, both retrofit and new build projects will benefit from the RHI income.”
Mr Richardson continues: “Shropshire Rural has worked with Kensa on both new build and retro-fit projects and has always found the company to be an excellent partner. The real value of Kensa’s work, however, lies in the quality of their heat pumps and the affordable warmth delivered to the residents of the homes. The pumps are reliable and quiet and, whilst we plan to carry out more detailed appraisal, the early signs are that, combined with the homes’ high levels of thermal efficiency, residents are enjoying high levels of comfort and low running costs.
“Our opinion of Kensa, based on years of working with them and a growing number of installations? Excellent products backed by excellent support; prior to, during and after installation.”