On the 8th of December, 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 a ground-breaking project in action to upgrade the energy performance of a large number of council-owned properties in the borough.

Three high-rise tower blocks, comprising of 273 residences are having night storage heaters replaced by Kensa ground source heat pumps that are three times more energy efficient. The project, part- funded by the BEIS Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) will reduce fuel bills by over 50% for some Thurrock residents, protecting them from the energy crisis and the risk of falling into fuel poverty this winter.

Replacing night storage heaters with ground source heat pumps will not only reduce running costs but also cut carbon emissions by 70%. This will save an estimated 7,080 tonnes of CO2 over the lifecycle of the heat pumps and help Thurrock Council towards reaching their net-zero goals.

The project, delivered by Kensa Contracting and Thurrock Council, demonstrates the potential for ground source heat pumps to rapidly and affordably decarbonise multiple properties at scale.

As part of the project cavity wall insulation is also being installed which meets the fabric first approach to fully maximising the energy efficiency of the homes in the tower blocks. This is being carried out by ARP Energy Services using their innovative rope access delivery which provides a cost-effective method against scaffolding and residents do not have the disruption of scaffolding on their homes for months.

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.

Cllr Deb Arnold, Deputy Leader of Thurrock Council, said:

I am delighted to have seen first-hand the work being carried out in Chadwell St Mary today and had the opportunity to visit residents benefitting from the project alongside Lord Callanan.

Fuel poverty is a real concern for many local authorities and across the council our services are offering their support to residents. Councils and social housing providers have a responsibility to reduce the number of households in fuel poverty, and I look forward to seeing the results of this worthwhile project which will enhance our properties’ energy efficiency and cut fuel bills.

Thank you to the government for awarding us the funding to be able to carry out this trailblazing work through its social housing decarbonisation initiative.

Cllr Luke Spillman, Cabinet Member for Housing, added:

This innovative project to upgrade the heating systems in three of our tower blocks in Chadwell St Mary will help to make 273 of our council properties warmer and greener, and drive down fuel bills. We are delighted with the work that Kensa Contracting has delivered so far.

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.

Darren Peacock, Managing Director, ARP Energy Services, commented:

As an Essex based company and the only insulation installer in the UK carrying out cavity wall insulation by rope access, we are delighted to be involved in this project.  Our rope access delivery will cause minimal disruption to residents as no scaffolding is needed.  Ensuring the cavity walls are insulated will maximise the new heating systems in the blocks by keeping the heat in homes and not escaping through uninsulated walls.

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