The net-zero retirement community protecting the climate for generations

The Millfield Green Village in Caddington

British ground source heat pumps, manufactured and installed by Kensa, will deliver renewable heating and hot water for the UK’s first net-zero carbon regulated energy retirement village designed to secure a sustainable future for generations.

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The Millfield Green Village in Caddington, Bedfordshire, is the newest community from Inspired Villages and consists of a large, mixed-use development featuring ground source heat pumps from all Kensa’s product ranges serving the domestic and commercial accommodation.

This is also the first net-zero carbon (regulated energy) development by Inspired Villages, a developer and operator of later-living homes, along with construction partner Willmott Dixon and funding partners Legal & General Capital Investments Ltd (who own a 35% stake in Kensa Group) and NatWest Group Pension Fund.

Conscious developers like Inspired Villages are leading the way by creating sustainable communities for the future utilising technologies with as minimal environmental impact as possible. The need for more age-appropriate housing for over 65’s is significant. Inspired Villages are supporting this need with its plan to create 34 communities across the UK with over 5,100 new, purpose-built homes, supporting 8,000 residents.

About the development
Millfield Green Phase 1 comprises 86 apartments in total – 80 within the main village centre and a further 6 located within a village apartment building. The village centre includes state-of-the-art wellbeing and leisure facilities, such as a swimming pool, sauna, aromatherapy room, gym and fitness studio and a yoga deck along with a bar, restaurant, café, library, craft room, hairdressers and outside kitchen and BBQ.

The current development is the first of four building phases on the site, planned by Inspired Villages. It is part of an innovative five-year development plan that aims to provide around 200 sustainable new-build homes specifically designed to accommodate older people’s needs.
It is hoped that this will help tackle a major issue laid out in the South Bedfordshire Local Plan, which identified a need for 9,050 new dwellings for people over 55 years of age.

Net zero standards
Inspired Villages carefully considered several different renewable heating systems before concluding that ground source heat pumps would provide a low carbon and efficient heating solution, whilst giving the senior residents ample heating and hot water.

Dr Stuart Gadsden, Commercial Director of Kensa Contracting, said:

Retired communities deserve safe heating systems that are low cost and low carbon with no pollutants impacting on local air quality. The ground source heat pumps will provide plentiful heating and hot water for the senior residents at Millfield Green.

By investing in ground source heating systems, Inspired Villages have ensured optimum comfort and low running costs for residents who can enjoy their retirement knowing that they are making a positive environmental impact.

Neal Dale, Chief Development & Property Officer for Inspired Villages, commented:

We are relentless in our pursuit of new and better ways to serve the society that we rely on and are part of. Across Inspired we are delivering a comprehensive variety of schemes to become a climate-positive business and in addition to the positive impact on the environment accrued by our programmes, there is a considerable benefit to residents also. The more we can produce our own energy within the villages, the more efficiency can be driven for residents’ and Kensa have been an ideal partner in delivering this at Millfield Green.

Inspired Villages’ Head of Sustainability, James Wilcox, commented:

Millfield Green sets the standard for the type of communities we want to build here at Inspired, as we focus on delivering net zero villages that demonstrate positive impact far beyond the life of a construction programme. Today, more than ever, there is a need to create communities where people can enjoy the best years of their life and the emphasis is not solely on individuals to reduce their impact on the environment but we, as a conscious developer, are enabling this too with support from Kensa.

Alongside the ground source heat pumps, the development also features on-site solar photovoltaics, improved building fabric and insulation, and mechanical ventilation heat recovery units to make it as energy efficient as possible.

Electric vehicle charging points will also be installed with further infrastructure in place to increase this provision as demand grows. To complement this focus on the environment, green spaces have been incorporated throughout the village’s design to enhance its natural setting.

Heat pump specification
The individual apartments feature Kensa’s Shoebox ground source heat pump, which is compact enough to be installed inside an airing cupboard, without compromising on efficiency.

21 x 3kW Kensa Shoeboxes were installed into the 1-bedroom apartments and 65 x 6kW Shoeboxes were installed into 2-bedroom apartments.
5 x high heat output Kensa Q80 ground source heat pumps, situated in a plantroom in the energy centre of the complex, will provide heating and pre-heating to the domestic hot water for the selection of shared facilities at the village, including an on-site restaurant, café, library, cinema room, and wellness centre, fitness studio and gym.

2 x 15kW Kensa Evo ground source heat pumps provide the final heating of the domestic hot water for the shared facilities to bring it up to temperature.

Harnessing heat from underground
46 x vertically-drilled boreholes ranging in depth from 145m – 184m (7,597m in total), provide the energy source for heating and hot water in the development. Ground temperatures at that depth remain constant 24/7 365 days a year, providing a reliable energy source that is sustainably replenished through sunlight and rainfall.

The boreholes are connected to 8 x shared ground arrays which form part of an ambient temperature heat network, circulating around the site. This innovative heat pump system architecture, pioneered by Kensa, avoids heat losses through distribution pipework which increases system efficiency. In the apartments where ground source heat pumps are installed inside each property, it allows each homeowner to have independent control over their own heating and hot water.

The long-term ownership business model of Inspired Villages is ideally suited to the shared ground array system architecture which becomes a long-term, low-maintenance asset that will serve the community for decades, as boreholes can last up to 100 years.

Key Facts

  • New-build development, Integrated Retirement Community
  • Domestic and commercial accommodation buildings
  • Features Kensa Shoebox, Kensa Evo and Kensa Q heat pumps
  • 93 x ground source heat pumps within the phase
  • Utilised government funding (Renewable Heat Incentive) which was available at the time
  • Net zero carbon (regulated energy) measures

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