National recognition for green scheme

Release Date: 11-Jul-2011
A pioneering green energy scheme in Huddersfield has won national recognition.
Some of the homes to benefit from the scheme

Some of the homes to benefit from the scheme

The project in the Fernside area of Almondbury won the public sector project of the year award and was runner up in the domestic installation category at the recent National Heat Pump Awards. The awards were launched earlier this year to reward and celebrate the best new advances in heat pump technology and outstanding applications in buildings and industry.

The project involved Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) replacing inefficient electric storage heaters in 180 flats and bungalows with ground source heat pumps. The scheme is one of the biggest of its kind in the UK and a major way that KNH is supporting Kirklees Council’s carbon reduction and fuel poverty targets.

Ground source heat pumps work by using the earth as a heat source to provide both heating and hot water. Bore holes are drilled down 80 metres to capture this heat, where the temperature stays constant year round. The concentrated heat is distributed through the home via traditional radiators and hot water cylinders.

Partnership working was key to the success of the project, which required daily life on the estate to be able to continue as normal while heavy machinery was on site. Contractors Eon and Kirklees Building Services worked closely with KNH, representatives from the Almondbury South Tenants and Residents Association, tenants and ward councillors to help bring the project to fruition.

The heat pumps are already paying off. Last winter, one of the coldest on record, residents saw their energy use fall by between a third and a half. That doesn’t just save energy and cut carbon emissions; it also saves money.

In addition, most of the homes already have solar panels fitted, which means that on some bright or sunny days, the heat pumps will run on solar energy, effectively providing free heating and hot water.

The £1.6 million scheme is part of a much bigger project to improve energy efficiency in council homes as well as tackle carbon emissions and fuel poverty. Using the council’s capital resources, KNH is halfway through a five year, £13 million programme of work and is investing £8.5 million on thermal cladding on properties that can’t have cavity wall insulation.

Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for Investment and Housing, said: “This project is an important addition to the way we use renewable energy in Kirklees and provides a model for others to follow. I’m very pleased that the project has received this recognition.

“The work of partners like KNH is vital to helping the council reduce its carbon footprint and tackle fuel poverty. Working together, we can make a real difference.”

Simon Rogers, KNH Chief Executive, said: “Everyone involved in the scheme is thrilled that their work has been recognised because it helps confirm that our approach in Kirklees is the right one.

“Tackling fuel poverty is one of KNH’s key priorities but so too is supporting the council’s green ambition and reducing the overall carbon footprint in Kirklees, and this scheme indicates just how committed Kirklees is to investing in renewable energy.”