Kensa’s Networked Heat Pump project for Thurrock Council, which set a blueprint for rapid social housing tower block decarbonisation, is awarded Renewable Energy Project of the Year at the 2024 Business Green awards

Kensa’s multi-award-winning retrofit project for Thurrock Council, which saw Networked Heat Pumps installed in 273 high-rise social housing flats, bagged another accolade by securing the Business Green Renewable Energy Project of the Year at the 2024 Business Green awards in London,

Part-funded by Wave 1 of the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), the flagship project, delivered by Kensa Contracting and Thurrock Council, saw ageing electric storage heaters across three tower blocks in Thurrock, Essex, replaced with highly efficient, low-carbon networked ground source heat pumps.

Since completion, the project has lowered residents’ energy bills by as much as 66%, lifting many out of fuel poverty and enabling them to heat their homes properly. Replacing electric storage heaters, which cost some residents thousands of pounds a year to run, with Kensa’s compact Shoebox heat pumps is also expected to reduce carbon emissions by 70%.

Networked Heat Pumps consist of ground source heat pumps installed in individual properties, whether flats, terraced streets, or new-build homes, connected to a shared network of underground pipework. This provides each property with low-cost, renewable heating, hot water, and cooling.

Installing this solution in 273 Thurrock flats set a blueprint for using SHDF funding to replace inefficient heating in social housing with Networked Heat Pumps. From creating new green local jobs to providing the Council with a long-lasting renewable heating system, the project delivered multiple benefits across the community.

With £1.2bn available this summer through SHDF Wave 3, social housing providers can apply for funding to make energy efficiency improvements in their properties, including replacing inefficient heating systems.

Speaking about the heating system, Thurrock resident Diane Barr said:

“The heat pump is much warmer, and the hot water is so fast compared to the old system. Plus it’s so cheap – I pay around £21 a week, and that’s with doing the washing, using the tumble-drier and dehumidifier. With the storage heaters, it cost around £70 a week, and I only used to have the heating on in three rooms, and the hot water ran out pretty quickly, so we couldn’t have a shower.”

After receiving the award, Sustainability Director at Kensa Contracting, Ieman Barmaki, said:

“It’s brilliant for this project to receive the Business Green Renewable Energy Project of the Year award. We’re incredibly proud of this installation; it’s made a huge improvement to people’s lives, it’s lowered energy bills and given residents a heating system they can afford to use.

“Networked heat pumps present an ideal solution to decarbonise complex properties like high-rise tower blocks. We’ve delivered this renewable heating system to over 1,700 high-rise social housing flats, giving long-lasting benefits for the housing providers, the residents, the community and the environment.”

Kensa’s Ned Lamb (L) and Ieman Barmaki (R), receive the 2024 Business Green Renewable Energy Project of the Year award

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