Case Study Off-Gas Grid — Pilot Scheme Elkesley Village, Worksop

Air Source Heat Pump – Background

Elkesley Village Air Source Heatpump

An Air Source Heat Pump unit installed

As a domestic heating technology, Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) are increasingly being considered a cost effective option for heating homes particularly in Off-Gas areas. Government targets for carbon dioxide emission reduction, financial incentives and funding mechanisms are all poised to stimulate the take up of ASHP’s in the UK.

It is widely promoted by manufacturers that heat pumps are a cost effective heating system for properties where mains gas supplies are not available. Through this project, AWS engaged with the Housing Associations involved, and provided finance towards the installation of the heating systems in their properties.

Process

AWS are committed to investigating new technologies and the benefits they can bring to sustainable energy and affordable warmth. In 2011/12, we invested £150,000 to pilot an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) non-gas energy solution to 16 low income homes.

The pilot was supported by an independent National Energy Action (NEA) study, to determine the suitability of ASHP’s for Off-Gas grid/low income homes. NEA has now published its final report into the study which has highlighted that ASHP’s, installed correctly and with the right support to low income households, can provide an effective solution to households without access to the gas network. They provide benefits such as increased thermal comfort, lower heating costs, improved controllability and increased automation compared to alternative heating fuels such as oil or LPG.

Most importantly, the study showed an overwhelming majority of tenants (81%) were extremely happy with their new systems, AND would recommend the system to others.

Headlines from Independent Research

The study concluded that there are significant benefits for ASHP in ‘Off-Gas’ grid properties.

These include:

  1. Increased thermal comfort,
  2. Lower heating costs,
  3. Improved controllability of heating; and
  4. Increased automation compared to storage or solid fuel.

ASHP’s are a cost effective way of providing affordable warmth in Off-Gas communities — provided the systems are specified correctly by skilled technical staff, and the householder is involved in the decisions affecting them (such as positioning of radiators, buffer tanks and controls).

Learning Points

Elkesley Village Final Connections

Making the final connection of an Air Source Heat Pump unit by an approved AWS contractor

Key learning points have also been identified for future ASHP initiatives and are being shared to ensure successful implementation and use of this technology. These include the need for:

  • Appropriate support and training for residents to ensure that the systems are used correctly.
  • Support for tenants in choosing and switching energy tariffs.
  • Appropriate specification of systems with sub-controls for whole house heating.
  • Consideration of the provision of energy displays/smart meters in conjunction with the rollout of ASHP’s.