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DANFOSS HEAT PUMPS - Housing Association Helps Tenants Keep Energy Costs Low With Danfoss Heat Pumps

A Yorkshire housing association has invested in renewable energy from Danfoss Heat Pumps to help its residents avoid fuel poverty on a pioneering eco-friendly development of two-bedroom homes.

South Yorkshire Housing Association, based in Sheffield, chose ground source heat pumps from Danfoss Heat Pumps for the new Munsdale “eco development” of 10 semi-detached houses in Greasbrough, Rotherham.

The £1.1m development was designed to achieve the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, which means it will benefit from a lower carbon footprint and provide reduced energy bills to residents. After researching different environmently-friendly heating options SYHA’s development staff specified the heat pumps, along with other eco-friendly features including photovoltaic panels, rainwater harvesting, whole house heat recovery ventilation, triple glazing and structural insulated timber panels.

The Munsdale development was shortlisted as a finalist for Inside Housing magazine’s Sustainable Housing Awards 2010 in the larger social housing project category. In an ongoing study of energy savings, SYHA are working with Sheffield Hallam University to monitor and analyse energy and water usage within the development during its first year of occupation.

The two bedroom semi-detached homes were built by Strata Construction, which has now being acquired by Balfour Beatty. Each home was fitted with a DHP-H 6kw heat pump, which is fed through an 80m bore hole in the garden. Danfoss Heat Pumps UK used its own directly employed, experienced engineers to install the system and the associated groundworks were carried out by Groundwork Drilling and Contracting of Barnsley.

The heat pumps supply both space heating and hot water for the homes, with a coefficient of performance expected of between 3.5 – 4 – meaning for each kilowatt of electricity consumed to operate the system it will output 3.5 to 4 kilowatts of power. The expected energy saving for each property is 6,029kw per year, when compared to other heating systems.

The heat pump is within a unit which also contains the 180 litre domestic hot water cylinder. It is connected to a radiator system, but can work equally as well with an underfloor heating system. In the homes on this development, the heat pumps have been fitted snugly in a cupboard under the stairs, although they can just as easily be installed in an outhouse to save space.

The heat pump works by taking natural heat energy from the ground via a circuit of brine within the ground loop, which then passes through the heat pump where the liquid refrigerant evaporates to form a gas. Later in the cycle, this gas is compressed which causes it to increase in temperature and eventually to change back to a liquid, whilst at the same time releasing the heat into the building and the cycle begins again. Heat pumps are effective both in summer and winter, day and night because the ground temperature remains constant at only a few feet below the surface.

Chris Dale, Director of Danfoss Heat Pumps UK, says: “This was a really exciting project to work on, although there were some challenging circumstances surrounding the installation. Vertical ground loops were installed rather than horizontal ones because there was a limited amount of land available. It is also in a former mining area which meant the position of previous mineworkings had to be investigated and relevant permissions acquired. However we were able to overcome the difficulties and install a system which will help ensure this development becomes known as a great example of sustainable building.”

Tony Stacey, SYHA Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to delivering sustainable and affordable homes for our residents. The residents living in these high quality new homes will benefit from reduced heating and electricity bills, which will mean they are able to be both greener and to save money that would have otherwise been spent on utility bills.”

Three of the 10 new houses are for sale with the remainder rented. Christine Walker and her eight-year-old daughter Abbi-Mae were among the first to move into the development in June 2010.

Ms Walker said: “I was over the moon to be able to rent this house – I absolutely love it, I just leave the system on its pre-set levels and it’s always so cosy and warm.

“I haven’t had my first proper energy bill yet, but I understand from neighbours that they have paid between £40 and £60 for their first quarter, which includes the cost of heating, hot water and all other electricity usage.”

Ms Walker was recently made redundant from her job as a health and safety officer and so has found the low cost of energy to be a major boon. She said: “Knowing that I can keep the house warm without running up large bills makes a massive difference to me at this time.”

Ground and air source heat pumps from Danfoss Heat Pumps are effective in refurbished as well as new-built properties. In assessing any new project , Danfoss Heat Pumps will always advise on a SAP survey to highlight any insulation requirements, thereby ensuring that the pump system can provide the householder with the highest possible level of energy savings.

Funding for ground source heat pump installations are expected to be available through the Renewable Heat Incentive, for more information, visit

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