A low-carbon renewable energy scheme involving the retrofit of ground source heat pumps has won a prestigious award.
The project which serves 400 flats in eight tower blocks in Enfield was named District Heating Project Of The Year at the 25th annual H&V News Awards.
The award-winning district heating scheme – which is part of Enfield Council's commitment to investment in sustainable technologies and delivering affordable warmth to residents - was delivered by Kensa Contracting and ENGIE and involved England's largest shared ground loop array heat pump programme replacing electric heating for Enfield Council, delivered in less than a one year and while residents remained in their homes.
Enfield Council Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: "We are proud that the Council is to receive this prestigious award. We are always looking for new and innovative ways of delivering services to residents and the new heating system certainly fits the bill.
"This is an eco-friendly systems that will enable residents to make significant savings in their heating costs at a time when household budgets are being squeezed. This project is good for residents and good for Enfield."
The H&V News Awards, commonly referred to as the 'industry oscars', are the longest running and largest ceremony for the UK's building services. Competing against projects from GEM Environmental, Vaillant, Vital Energi, and Woodford Heating & Energy, the H&V News Awards judging panel described the Enfield tower block retrofit as, "a clear winner with demonstrable innovation, excellence in installation plus wide benefits to the client and residents."
With each flat having its own heat pump, each property is responsible for its own energy bill, and able to switch supplier at will.
The system could potentially save tenants £450 – £700 per year in heating and hot water costs, giving nearly £9 million in collective lifetime bill savings over the 40 year system lifetime. For many this means no longer having to live in fuel poverty, allowing them to heat their flats properly, thus improving their health and wellbeing.
The Enfield project's remarkability comes from its scale of ambition. Due to space limitations Kensa removed the need for an energy centre, a tradition feature in district heating systems. This was achieved by installing a small 'Shoebox' ground source heat pump in each of the 400 flats, rather than a few large heat pumps centrally. The Shoebox heat pumps were connected to ambient temperature shared ground loop arrays totalling 100 boreholes drilled to depths over 200m.
One of the big advantages of a shared ground loop system is that, unlike central plant systems, it is relatively simple to sub-divide district schemes into smaller units. In Enfield's case, Kensa split the system into 16 "micro-districts" each supplying half a tower block, simplifying project logistics and allowing for parallel work flows, reduced timescales and disruption to tenants.