A bi-annual review of Shropshire Rural Housing Association’s (SRHA) round of retrofit heating works under the Government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme (RHPP) for Social Landlords, has reported significant savings for tenants following the installation of Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP’s).
The installation of 63 ground source heat pumps under the RHPP Social Landlords Programme, resulted in tenants experiencing immediate and significant savings on their heating bills.
Bryan Powell, Chief Executive of SRHA, says, “The objective of undertaking the installation of ground source heat pump systems in our homes is to give our tenants control over their heating, reduce their energy costs and invest in modern low carbon technology to reduce our carbon footprint. Feedback from our tenants has confirmed that this has been achieved as they now have control over their heating using the system to deliver better comfort levels at a reduced cost.”
A small rural housing association with over 270 rural homes across the county, SRHA’s asset management strategy demanded an improvement in the thermal efficiency of their properties, due to the largely off gas grid profile of their housing stock. Prior to the installation of GSHPs, many SRHA properties used night storage heaters as the primary heating source. Tenant complaints regarding the heaters’ running costs and lack of controllability – not delivering heat when needed – prompted SRHA to undertake a retrofit programme with the support of UK manufacturer, Kensa Heat Pumps.
Utilising the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Social Landlords Competition – a scheme set up as a precursor to the full Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launched in April this year – the initial cost of the ground source heat pumps was reduced, whilst attracting an income for 7 years through the Domestic RHI. This created an opportunity for SRHA to efficiently and cost effectively transform the heating systems in a third of their housing stock.
Kensa co-ordinated the delivery of the works to a time sensitive schedule to ensure funding eligibility was maintained. Bryan Powell says, “This was an ambitious programme, for a business of our size, to help deliver affordable warmth to our customers. We feel that the substantial investment has proved to be very worthwhile and has met our objectives. We now have 89 homes – a third of our stock – heated in this manner delivering real benefits to our customers the Association and the environment.
Kensa’s Commercial Director, Chris Davis, says that social housing providers can profitably address their housing stock’s efficiency. Mr. Davis says, “The success SHRA and Kensa have achieved under RHPP Social Landlords competitions demonstrate that renewables, and in our case ground source heat pumps, have a big part to play in improving tenant comfort and lowering fuel bills whilst delivering on key objectives for the housing association.
“To build on this success, Kensa has explored ways that housing associations can effectively ‘cross-subsidise’ through the RHI and ECO, notably through the innovative application of micro district heating schemes in retrofit homes, allowing housing associations to access 20 years of RHI income plus an ECO subsidy to lower the initial investment cost in the heating system. Kensa invites any social landlord looking at ways to tackle fuel poverty and heating system replacement in off gas grid areas to speak to us to see whether this might work for them.”