Kensa secures RHPP funding for social housing providers

Published by Kate Anderson on August 19th, 2013

A UK manufacturer of ground source heat pumps has managed to secure renewable heat funding for five social housing providers keen to switch to heat pumps as a cost effective method of heating their housing stock.

A joint bid with Kensa Engineering for funding from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme proved successful, enabling social housing providers including Devon & Cornwall Housing Ltd and Yorkshire Housing Ltd to take advantage of the renewable heating scheme.

Registered social landlords have the opportunity to bid for RHPP Fast Track funding to support the installation of renewable heating systems like heat pumps in social housing stock. A total funding pot of £7 million was on the table, and combined the five lucky social housing providers – which also includes Shropshire Rural Housing Ltd, Ocean Housing and Tarka Housing – share funds in excess of £2 million.

Kensa is commited to helping social housing providers secure financial assistance and continues to work together with a number of social housing providers in order to secure additional funding for retrofitting renewable heating technologies like heat pumps through the RHPP Social Housing Competition.

The Fast Track competition has proved popular, with more than fifty applications, of which seven were for ground source heat pumps.

Bids were scored against strict criteria, which included:

  • Value for money
  • Energy savings
  • Deliverability
  • Community engagement

All of the successful social housing providers must have their retrofit ground source heat pump projects completed before the end of March 2014.

Entries Wanted for 2012 National Heat Pump Awards

Published by Kate Anderson on December 13th, 2011

Following on from the success of the first annual Heat Pump Awards back in June, applications are being invited for 2012, which will see manufacturers, contractors and consultants vying for top honours.

Celebrating the industry’s best new products, projects and personal contributions, the first annual heat pump awards saw 60 entries competing for awards in 10 categories.

Now set to be an annual event in the industry’s calendar, the 2012 awards will feature 11 categories and the competition is once again backed by leading names in the heat pump industry.

“The first year produced a good number of entries and indications of a growing market,” said Tony Bowen, chairman of the panel of judges.

He added that this year emphasis has been placed on evidence of performance monitoring, and that people need to be able to see evidence surrounding low running costs related to ground source and air source heat pumps.

Deadline for entries is 2 March 2012, in the following categories:

  • Domestic Air Source Installation of the Year
  • Domestic Ground Source Installation of the Year
  • Commercial Air Source Installation of the Year
  • Commercial Ground Source Installation of the Year
  • Product Innovation of the Year – Heat Pumps
  • Product Innovation of the Year – Ancillary Components
  • Training Excellence Award
  • Public Sector Project of the Year
  • Installer of the Year
  • Consultant of the Year
  • Heat Pump Champion

For more information and to enter, visit www.nationalheatpumpawards.co.uk

New Heat Pump Installer Standard Good News For the Industry

Published by Kate Anderson on November 15th, 2011

Dimplex Renewables has welcomed the introduction of the new installer standard for heat pumps, saying it will be good news for the renewable heating industry.

Launched in September, the heat pump industry has worked with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to set the new standards in place, which are designed to not only give customers better protection, but should ultimately increase the quality of heat pump installations across the board.

Perhaps one of the most common errors is the under-sizing of systems, which leads to decreased efficiency. But with the introduction of the new Microgeneration Installation Standard (MIS) 3005, new guidance has been set down to help achieve the correct sizing of heat pumps.

The right choice of heat emitters and achieving adequate heat yield from ground collectors is equally important, and the new measures should address those issues.

“The new standard is a great piece of work that will help make working with heat pumps more accessible to more installers – and that has to be good news for the industry,” said Chris Davis, business development director at Dimplex.

The new installer standards will become mandatory next month.

New Industry Standards For Heat Pump Installers Launched

Published by Kate Anderson on September 26th, 2011

A new set of industry standards has been launched, designed to give customers more protection and raise the quality of installations.

Major players in the renewables industry were at Whitehall to see energy secretary Chris Huhne make the announcement. And Mr Huhne revealed that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has worked very closely with the heat pump industry to set in place the new standards. 

Referring to the Energy Saving Trust’s innovative heat pump field trial – and the uncertainty surrounding the technology’s performance – Chris Huhne highlighted a series of common fatal errors incurred by heat pump installers. Most notably the under-sizing of the systems, which results in decreased efficiency.

Green energy specialists, Stiebel Eltron welcomed the news. John Felgate, the firm’s technical director said the new set of industry standards was good news for both manufacturers and installers – and not least consumers looking to invest in the benefits of heat pump technology.

“Installers need a set of guidelines to ensure that heat pumps achieve the carbon savings they are supposed to, as well as ensuring that consumers feel secure and protected,” said Mr Felgate.

Adding that there has been too many horror stories concerning cowboy installations and badly performing systems, he added: “We have to now present a unified front and get the message out there that we are a well regulated, quality industry with excellent practices.”

While the new installer standards are now in place, they won’t become mandatory until December. It is imperative that the new standards are adhered to, because installers who don’t follow the guidelines risk losing their accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

Under the new set of guidelines, except in the most extreme of conditions, the installed heat pump should be able to heat a house almost entirely without needing any back up, electric or otherwise.

Boost For Heat Pump Planning Permission Issues

Published by Kate Anderson on September 21st, 2011

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has given heat pump technology a boost, indicating that planning permission issues pertaining to air source heat pumps should soon be lifted.

As it stands, anyone wanting to install an air source heat pump – as opposed to a ground source heat pump – requires planning permission for the system to be fitted. The planning ruling has been under revision for some time, but it looks as though air source heat pumps are on course to become permitted development sooner rather than later.

The planning permission issue was raised during Mr Huhne’s attendance at the Southampton Eco Event, which was hosted by Freedom Heat Pumps. When broached about the subject, the energy secretary said that although some restrictions – including consideration for noise – still needed to be addressed, the current restrictions were close to be lifted.

Allowing air source heat pumps to be exempt from the planning system would certainly be a boost for the industry. Mr Huhne also spoke very briefly about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), and touched on the reasons for the delay when it came to including air source heat pumps in the scheme.

“The data taken during the Carbon Trust study showed that there were still significant problems with the application of air source heat pumps and a further one year study of different installations will allow us to make a more informed decision,” he said, addressing attendees.

Mr Huhne added that a final decision and further announcements should be made in January or February next year.

The event at Freedom Heat Pumps showroom in Eastleigh gave members of the public the opportunity to mingle with renewable heating contractors and learn more about the technologies available.

Heat Pumps Important For Low Carbon Future

Published by Kate Anderson on September 12th, 2011

Energy secretary Chris Huhne is calling on the UK to not overlook the importance of heat pumps, as the technology continues to remain “off the radar” for many people.

A new set of updates to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme MIS3005 guidelines was launched last week, to which the energy secretary has put his weight behind.

The new guidelines have been put together to make sure heat pump installers select the right devices for customers and to help increase investor confidence in the technology. The Government will also be implementing a training and awareness  programme to aid installers.

It is anticipated that the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), together with new stricter guidelines could help the UK achieve its low carbon goals. Although the European Heat Pump Association believes the UK has the potential to become the number one market for new investment, currently we trail behind the likes of Sweden, France and Germany for heat pump installations.

“You only need to talk to the Chief Scientific Adviser for a few minutes before you realise how important heat pumps are,” said Mr Huhne.

“They can play a real part in our low carbon future, yet for most people in the UK they’re entirely off the radar,” he added.

According to the Energy Savings Trust, to date some 1,463 vouchers were issues during the first month of the scheme, with air source heat pumps proving the most popular, having achieved 511 vouchers. Ground source heat pumps had accounted for 283 vouchers.

Also in the pipeline, air source heat pumps could soon benefit from permitted development rights. The Department for Communities and Local Government is working to make the technology exempt from the planning system.

Panasonic’s Aquarea Heat Pump Awarded MCS Accreditation

Published by Kate Anderson on September 1st, 2011

Panasonic’s Aquarea range of air source heat pumps has been awarded accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

Becoming an approved technology under the scheme has significant benefits, not least because it means anyone fitting the technology in their home will be eligible to take advantage of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Aquarea air-to-water heat pumps are known for their reliability, ease of installation and class-leading, energy efficient performance – up to 78% compared to electric heating.

Commenting on achieving MCS accreditation, Marc Diaz, UK country manager at Panasonic PHAAE, said it represented a significant milestone, given the Government incentives and plans to boost the country’s adoption of renewable technologies.

“It ensures that Aquarea will meet the required eligibility criteria demanded by any Government-backed programme, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive.

“With its impressive, energy efficient performance alongside the other benefits it offers, we are confident that it will prove a very popular choice,” added Mr Diaz.

MCS accreditation applies to Panasonic’s standard Aquarea Mono-bloc heat pump.

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