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Ground-breaking technology

Colin Roff of Stafford and Rural Homes describes how his housing association is using renewable sources of energy to heat the homes of its tenants.

Stafford and Rural Homes has recently installed nine Ground Source Heating Systems in a small complex of warden-linked bungalows in the village of Swynnerton, near Stafford.

"Economical heating is very important to our tenants"

When we were looking at replacing the heating in these properties, “fuel poverty” was a major consideration as economical heating is very important to our tenants.  We needed to find something that was cost effective to install and had low running costs for the end user.

After we decided on installing Ground Source Heat Pumps, three suppliers were considered for the contract, and key criteria included both cost and quality. An assessment panel was set up which included Technical Staff and Residents from the scheme to choose a contractor.

Dimplex and their installer partner Azure Natural Energy systems were appointed as they provided all the relevant information and references to carry out the complex working procedures required.

Ground Source Heat Pumps use a pipe loop that is inserted into the ground to transfer heat from the ground into the building, which provides heating and hot water.  A 300mm diameter borehole was drilled at each property to a depth exceeding 80 metres to enable the loop to absorb the natural heat from the earth’s structure.

The project received a grant of 50% of the cost of the heat pump installation under Phase 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, and six of the nine properties will also take part in a year-long survey by the Energy Saving Trust to monitor Ground Source Heat Pumps across the UK in real-life installations.