Council homes go underground for cheaper heating
TENANTS in supported accommodation will enjoy reduced energy bills as part of a pioneering new £175,000 initiative.
A Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) has been installed to benefit those living in 18 South Derbyshire District Council-owned flats in Hartshorne.
The innovative initiative sees heat below the surface of the earth collected by bore holes about 410ft (125m) deep, passed through a compressor and pumped into ground loops. It is then transferred to radiators and hot water cylinders within the individual homes.
As the electricity required is substantially less than that consumed by more traditional methods of heating, the properties — and the people living in them — stand to benefit from cost savings of between £150 and £200 a year.
Kenneth Hazeldine, 89, who has lived in the council properties in Hartshorne since June 2011, said he was delighted with the benefits of the new system.
He said: “I knew that it was a good scheme from the start.
“We went to a meeting where everything was explained to us and it quickly became apparent that this was the up and coming way of doing things.
“I am really happy with the benefits and obviously the cost savings on our bills can only be a good thing.”
The GHSP was installed following a £175,000 grant from the Energy Savings Trust and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
As well as cost savings, the scheme also reduces national grid demand and lowers South Derbyshire’s carbon footprint.
Other authorities across the country have expressed an interest in visiting the site with a view to installing similar systems in their respective areas.
John Lemmon, the council’s chairman of housing and community services at the district council, said: “As advances are made in environmental technology, it’s important that we ensure that the systems we are providing our tenants with are as efficient and effective as they can be to help further reduce fuel poverty.
“This pioneering project demonstrates our commitment to reducing carbon emissions and puts the council at the forefront of installing green technologies of this nature.
“We hope tenants enjoy the difference these changes make, not only to their monthly bills, but also to the comfort of their homes.”