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Tenants tackle heating bills with Danfoss

A pilot project to reduce 'fuel poverty' for social housing tenants in the West Midlands has been a success due to the installation of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) from Danfoss.
The Housing Association decided to trial a range of renewable technologies in a low-rise block of flats constructed in the 1970s which makes up part of Solihull Housing Association's stock of 10,500 homes.

The pilot project in Knowle included five Danfoss GSHPs installed in the block of flats and fed through vertical bore holes, along with solar thermal panels and air source heat pumps at other properties.

Tenants Sharon and Leslie Minshull have been delighted with their new heating system. Mrs Minshull said: 'We've lived here for 11 years and with the storage heaters, I was always cold - I used to have to wrap blankets around myself when I was sitting on the settee. Since the heat pump has been in it is always lovely and warm, even through the coldest days of the winter. Our average heating and hot water bill has dropped by more than half from £130 a month to just £60.'

The installation was carried out under a framework agreement with British Gas which specified Danfoss Heat Pumps UK's 6Kw DHPH6 Opti-Pro pumps. Each pump has an integral 180 litre hot water tank and is powered with energy sourced from125 m deep vertical boreholes which have been drilled in land behind the block.

The heat pumps supply all the space and hot water for the one and two-bedroom homes and were installed in the airing cupboard of each flat, replacing the existing hot water cylinders, with no loss of living space. Radiators were fitted in place of the bulky storage heaters and the building's insulation was also improved to maximise their efficiency.

Robin Dunlevy, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council's home energy conservation officer, said: 'We selected ground source heat pumps for these flats because they were not connected to mains gas and the electric storage heaters were not very energy efficient. These systems were also expensive to run for tenants and the heaters were often inadequate in the winter. After consultation with residents, five households in the block were keen to try a ground source heat pump system and we have had some really good feedback.'

The Housing Association is currently monitoring the cost savings and customer experience of the renewable technologies.

Chris Dale, director of Danfoss Heat Pumps, said: 'Many forward thinking social housing providers are investing in heat pump technology to help their tenants avoid fuel poverty, a problem which will inevitably increase as energy prices continue to rise. Ground source heat pumps offer a high level of system efficiency which not only reduces the cost of heating and hot water, but significantly cuts carbon emissions produced by each household.'

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8 June 2011

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