Housing association residents in a development of 49 bungalows in Herefordshire are “set to have their heating bills halved” as work begins on the installation of a communal ground source heating system.

The Burton Gardens ground source heat pump retrofit scheme is being piloted by social housing provider Stonewater with the aim of providing residents with a warmer and cheaper home heating system that will reportedly save them hundreds of pounds annually on their energy bills.

Stonewater is working with Kensa Heat Pumps on the pilot retrofit scheme, which is due for completion in December this year. The Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pumps will replace electric night storage heaters and immersion hot water heating systems.

“With rising energy costs forcing more vulnerable people into fuel poverty as we approach winter this year, there is a real need for social landlords and housing providers to help tackle the problem which affects thousands of people across the UK,” said Nick Harris, Chief Executive of Stonewater.

“Measures such as replacing night storage heaters with more efficient, affordable and carbon-friendly home-heating technologies can make a big difference to people’s lives, particularly their health and wellbeing.”

The scheme’s communal ‘micro district’ design – where a Kensa Shoebox heat pump installed inside each bungalow is connected to one of 25 communal boreholes – ensures eligibility for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding provided by Kensa’s partnership with EDF Energy, along with 20 years of income through the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The micro district design also avoids the need for a plant room, and provides independence to the tenants, who are free to switch energy providers. Each resident will also receive a new hot water cylinder and radiators in place of the old night storage units.

Stonewater’s ground source heat pump upgrade in Burton Gardens is costing the housing organisation £700,000 to install. The scheme, which is being subsidised by an upfront ECO grant of £95,000, has an expected payback of 16 years, with Stonewater receiving an additional £800,0000 income over 20 years from the government’s non-domestic RHI scheme.