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Kensa’s vision for decarbonisation met with approval by industry peers

Ground source heat pump specialist Kensa Group's work on ‘Integrated Energy Systems and Networked Heat Pumps’ been published in a peer-reviewed whitepaper after it was presented at the 2022 Technical Symposium run by CIBSE.

The paper is available for CIBSE members to download and the key points are summarised here.

Dr Manju Mishra, SAP Specialist at Kensa and co-author of the paper, said: “Our work aims to break down the perceived barriers to the widescale electrification of heat and showcase that Networked Heat Pumps can achieve decarbonization goals at scale for the lowest cost. We were therefore delighted to have our findings published by CIBSE and recognised by highly-respected peers.' 

Manju continued: “It is one thing to make low-carbon heating technologies available, but it is entirely a different matter to achieve their installation in homes and their adoption for use on a mass scale. Our work at Kensa is not just theorising – we are developing models based on real-life urban communities – and providing a blueprint that can be rolled out across the country.”

Over the last 18 months, Kensa has delivered an extensive body of evidence-based work and a stand-out communications campaign exploring the potential of street-by-street installations of ground source heat pump technology in communities. The findings were written in a paper by Karl Drage and Dr Manju Mishra which was presented to CIBSE and heavily peer-reviewed in a process that took six months.

Now industry experts have confirmed Kensa’s conviction that Networked Heat Pumps and Ambient Heat Networks offer an effective solution to help the UK achieve its heat decarbonization goals and scale up to meet the ambitious heat pump deployment targets of 600,000 per year by 2028, as set by the government. Whilst Ambient Heat Networks are not a new concept and smaller systems have been installed successfully, so far this is still not a mainstream solution.

Kensa Group chief executive, Dr Matthew Trewhella, confirmed: “An integrated approach using networked ground source heat pumps can deliver community-wide sustainable heating and cooling to accelerate progress on climate change in the UK.

“By installing and funding the deployment of networked heat pumps via an infrastructure that mimics the gas network, net-zero carbon can be achieved for the lowest societal cost and electrical grid impact, with significantly less investment than you think.”

Manju went into more detail: “Through the detailed study of the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) of 1,000 sample homes with a whole life-whole cost-benefit analysis, research revealed that ‘fabric first’ is not always the most economical way to approach reducing household emissions. Stakeholders should certainly consider improving a building’s insulation where possible, but saying that you can’t switch to electric heat pumps unless you’ve treated the fabric is actually adding an unnecessary hurdle.”

The findings from the whitepaper research also informed a multi-channel national communications campaign demonstrating the viability of Networked Heat Pumps.

‘Welcome to Green Street’ was presented through a mobile augmented reality (AR) experience taking users on a virtual trip down Green Street (modelled on the real Green Street in urban Glasgow), as it switches to heat pumps in a virtual makeover to demonstrate how the UK’s current gas grid can be replaced with renewable heating. Work is currently in progress for a desktop version.

‘Welcome to Green Street’ was Kensa’s way of tackling the communications challenge of approaching a complex network of multiple stakeholders and engaging them with a different solution to the problem of decarbonisation.

17 August 2022

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