Within months, residents of three tower blocks in Thurrock, Essex are set to have their energy bills slashed by almost a thousand pounds, as a groundbreaking new project will see heat pumps installed in 273 council-owned residences, Express.co.uk can report. Kensa Contracting and Thurrock Council are delivering a project that demonstrates the potential for ground source heat pumps to rapidly and affordably decarbonise multiple properties at scale. Ground source heat pumps transfer heat from deep underground to heat your home through radiators or underfloor heating.
On Thursday, Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), visited residents from Chadwell St Mary in Thurrock to see the project in action.
These high-rise tower blocks use night storage heaters in the past, which will now be replaced by Kensa’s ground source heat pumps, which they note are three times more energy efficient.
This project is part-funded by the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), which is aimed at upgrading a significant amount of the social housing stock currently below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C up to that standard.
Increasing energy efficiency in Britain’s leakiest homes is regarded as one of the fastest ways to tackle the energy crisis, reducing our reliance on expensive natural gas.
Speaking to Express.co.uk at the site, David Broom, the Managing Director of Kensa Contracting, said that project, which will be completed by March, would slash bills by almost 50 percent for some of the Thurrock residents currently using the most amount of gas.
With energy bills at eyewatering levels, these heat pumps will thus help the residents save over a thousand pounds, and protect them from falling into fuel poverty.
In reality, Mr Broom noted that most households would save about 20-30 percent on their energy bills. However, they would use more energy to heat their entire house, and thus would live in healthier, mould-free properties.
Kensa noted that aside from significantly reducing the energy bills in these flats, replacing night storage heaters with ground source heat pumps would also slash carbon emissions by 70 percent.
This could save an estimated 7,080 tonnes of CO2 over the lifecycle of the heat pumps, helping Thurrock Council, and the UK as a whole reach its legally binding net zero goals.
Energy Minister, Lord Callanan said: “It is fantastic to see first-hand how Government funding is not only being used to lower carbon emissions but reduce fuel bills for low-income households, including here in Thurrock.
“Projects like this demonstrate how we are committed to making homes greener and cheaper to keep warm, and we’re training thousands more skilled heat pump installers to ensure we continue to deliver cleaner and more energy-efficient homes across the country.”
Ieman Barmaki, Sustainability Director for Kensa Contracting, followed: “No one today in the UK should have to decide between heating and eating. Installing ground source heat pumps, which provide the lowest carbon, running, and whole-lifecycle costs can heat high-rise developments, such as at Chadwell St Mary, and help keep their tenants comfortable through the colder months.”
“These systems help housing providers lower their environmental impact and future-proof their assets, whilst protecting their tenants from fuel poverty.
“We are delighted Lord Callanan has come to visit today so we can showcase the technology BEIS has helped fund and the positive impact that ground source heat pumps are having.”
Diane Barr, a resident from Chadwell St Mary, furthered, “After 16 years of living here with an outdated Economy 7 heating system I am so looking forward to getting low cost energy efficient heating. We all dread the winter months, even more so with the unbelievable cost of electricity.
“We are all eager for them to be installed, it will make such a difference and we will all be doing our little bit for the environment too. Kensa have kept us all up to date with the process and have renovated the community area so it is nice and warm over the winter if things get really cold for any tenants that wish to use it.”