Seven tower blocks replace gas with GSHP technology
Housing association Gentoo Group is delivering the "Core 364" project with the support of energy and regeneration specialist, Engie, and ground source heat pump specialists, Kensa Contracting.
Early works for the heating upgrade programme commenced in October, with all systems expected to be replaced by late summer 2020.
Gentoo believes that a growing number of ground source heat pump installations in existing and new build housing is linked to the government's new National Design Guide and imminent Future Homes Standard, which is currently out for consultation.
Both of these recommend heat pumps as sustainable heating alternatives to fossil fuels.
In addition, the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018, which banned all combustible materials at heights over 18m in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, has had the secondary impact of rendering external boiler flues that contain combustible materials unlawful.
This removes the option for like-for-like replacements in multiple occupancy buildings and could become an additional argument for removing gas from buildings.
Each flat will be kitted out with a Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pump, which will be connected to a lower temperature "fifth-generation" district heating system consisting of ambient shared ground loop arrays.
An underground aquifer will provide the heat source for the tower blocks, accessed via open-loop boreholes drilled to depths of 60m.
The system prevents heat losses, overcoming overheating in the tower block communal areas, and boosts the system efficiency.
The decentralised heat pumps provide heating independence to the tenants, with each still able to shop around for the cheapest electricity deal to power their heat pumps and other domestic devices.
Compared to gas central heating, the heat pumps will reduce carbon emissions by nearly 70% per year, and improve local air quality.
As the electricity grid further decarbonises, the system's carbon savings will become even more pronounced.