Flat-Packed Riverside Home Incorporates Heat Pump Technology

Published by Kate Anderson on August 30th, 2011

A £1.5 million timber-clad riverside home in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire has been designed by its architect-owner to benefit from renewable heating technology.

The eye-catching property sites on an exceptional riverside plot, and is the brainchild of fifty-year old Chris Tapp, who spent twelve months creating the perfect design prior to the construction – which he describes as a bit like “putting together a flat-pack wardrobe”.

Costing around half a million pounds, to compact the risk of flooding, the property sits on  6ft-high stilts and features an underfloor heating system and a water source heat pump which extracts heat from the nearby river in much the same way ground source heat pumps extracts heat from the ground.

Located in Lower Shiplake, near Henley-on-Thames, it took Chris and three friends two weeks to construct the timber shell, and almost a year to finish the interior. Chris originally wanted the property to incorporate solar technology, but he had to abandon plans to the build the house at an angle so the roof would be facing south, and instead had to orient the property directly towards the river.

A specialist in riverside properties, Chris has designed a wood-framed home for TV presenter Julia Kendell and currently under construction is ‘The House By The Water’, a cutting-edge property which features a basement room with a window which has been designed to be partially submerged when the water level rises.

The construction of ‘The House By The Water’ is being filmed for Channel 4’s Grand Designs, a TV show which covers unusual architectural house-building projects.

Heat Pumps Proving Most Popular Under RHPP

Published by Kate Anderson on August 16th, 2011

It was only launched two weeks ago, but already the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme is proving to be a popular incentive, and none more so when it comes to heat pump technology.

Since the launch of the RHPP on 1 August, Greenwise has reported considerable interest in consumers wishing to install air source heat pumps.

With grants of up to £1,250 available towards the installation of ground source heat pumps, and £850 to help install an air source heat pump, the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme aims to encourage people to install renewable heating technologies. The RHPP will run until March 2012 and is a one-off payment available in the form of vouchers.

According to figures obtained by Greenwise, the highest proportion of vouchers – some 36% and more than 900 vouchers – have been issued so far for air source heat pumps, totaling more than £750,000.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, prior to the scheme’s launch, the majority of enquiries were for solar hot water systems, although this hasn’t reflected in the volume of vouchers issued, with solar thermal accounting for 29% of vouchers. Bringing up the rear are ground source heat pumps with 21% and biomass boilers at 14%.

Commenting in a blog, the EST said that schemes like this always featured a few surprises, and that “the trailblazing technology, at the moment, in terms of vouchers being given out is air source heat pumps.”

Aimed at the 4 million UK homes that aren’t heated by mains gas, through the RHPP, the Government has made grants of £15 million available, with £12 million set aside for residential homeowners and £3 million to social housing providers.

Heat Pump Firm Basking in Success

Published by Kate Anderson on August 11th, 2011

A Sheffield-based heat pump firm is basking in success, following its involvement in an energy saving project that has been shortlisted for a prestigious national eco award.

Danfoss Heat Pumps UK supplied three ground source heat pumps to a project that saw the renewable technology replace an expensive and inefficient electric storage heating system at a housing complex for the elderly in Northamptonshire.

The heat pump technology is but one of a number of green improvements installed into the Bridgewater House apartment block in Brackley. The energy saving project has not only been praised by the tenants, it has also been selected as a finalist in the category for Best Sustainable Larger Housing Retrofit Project of the Year at the Inside Housing awards.

“We are delighted that this project has been shortlisted, because it highlights the benefits of replacing an inefficient, outdated electric heating system with our sustainable ground source heat pumps,” commented Chris Dale, director at Danfoss Heat Pumps UK.

Founded by former mining engineer Phil Moore and his wife Sally, Danfoss Heat Pumps – formerly known as ECO Heat Pumps prior to its acquisition by Danfoss three years ago – found success recently, after a home benefiting from its heat pumps was named Installation of the Year at the National Heat Pump Awards.

Renewables Company Made Misleading Heat Pump Claims

Published by Kate Anderson on August 3rd, 2011

A renewable energy company has been found to have made misleading energy saving claims about the benefits of installing heat pumps.

Gauntlet thrown down to renewables industry over energy saving claims

Five statements in a mailshot delivered by ACS Renewable Solutions –  whose head office is based in Towcester, Northants – were challenged by gas supply giant, Calor Gas, who took their complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

The ASA upheld three of the challenges relating to winter fuel bills and efficiency, and found that the renewable energy company made misleading claims pertaining to energy savings and the efficiency of air source heat pumps. ACS Renewable Solutions claimed the renewable technology could “reduce winter fuel bills by 40%” and that the heat pumps were “over three times as efficient as a traditional heating system”.

ASA has advised the renewable solutions firm that they must hold robust evidence to substantiate savings and energy claims in the future.

David Knibbs, managing director of ACS, said since the ASA’s ruling, the company’s promotional material has been amended.

“We will continue to promote the benefits of renewable energy heating solutions over traditional fossil fuels where it is right for the end consumer,” he added.

By taking their complaint over the heat pump installer’s claims to the ASA,  Calor Gas has essentially thrown down the gauntlet to the renewables industry.

The debate between ACS Renewable Solutions and Calor Gas over the findings of the investigation appears to be have been ignited by a statement from the gas supplier’s Head of Strategy Paul Blacklock, who refers to what he describes as “dodgy sales tactics” used by solar panel installers.

Referring to a Which? undercover investigation that found many solar PV installers were making exaggerated claims with regard to the amount of energy produced by solar technology, he said similar tactics were also being used by suppliers of heat pumps.

“The Government needs to nip this in the bud as soon as possible, especially as these renewable technologies are all being supported by tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money,” said Mr Blacklock.

A spokesman for ACS said the company was concerned that the reference could be perceived to suggest that its sales tactics are also “dodgy”, by essentially weaving their name into criticisms of the renewables industry as a whole.

Commenting on their ruling, the ASA said it had “absolutely nothing to do with sales tactics”.

“It’s about the issue of properly substantiating claims with evidence. We hold companies to very high account with their advertising,” said a spokesman.

To view the adjudication in its entirety, visit www.asa.org.uk