Warm welcome for community group with heat pump

Warm welcome for community group with heat pump

A tenants and residents association (TARA) in Doncaster, which organises activities to bring the community together, can now make its funds go further thanks to the installation of a Danfoss ground source heat pump.

The heat pump has been installed at Woodfield Community House, which is owned by St Leger Homes, a not-for-profit ‘arms length management’ company which manages around 21,000 residential properties on behalf of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. The centre will also be used to demonstrate energy efficiency in the home to thousands of tenants and residents of St Ledger Homes in the future.

St Leger Homes specified the heat pump as part of an environmentally friendly upgrade because the company was looking to improve the building’s heating system and create a ‘real life’ example of energy efficiency within the heart of the town, as well as creating a pilot project to test energy saving measures which could later be rolled out to other properties.

St Leger Homes helped to fund the project together with the Department of Energy and Climate Change Low Carbon Buildings Programme (Phase 2) and New Deal for Communities.

Woodfield Community House has been formed from two semi-detached council houses, built in the inter-war period, and is surrounded by similar properties. In addition to the heat pump, photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed, and the property was re-roofed and given a higher level of roof insulation.

The house is leased by Woodfield TARA, which pays 75 per cent of its utility bills and will therefore reap most of the benefits of this more energy efficient system. The building was previously heated by an old style, non-condensing gas fired boiler, which was due to be replaced.

Sally Wilson, strategy manager for St Leger Homes, said, ‘We hope the tenants enjoy their new ‘green’ community house which is helping reduce carbon emissions. In the future we hope the centre will be a place for energy efficiency advice for tenants and residents.’

Secretary of the TARA Margaret Stacey said, ‘The community house is open most days and more than a hundred people come through our doors over an average week, so it is important to keep the building constantly warm and comfortable. Our pensioners’ lunches are particularly popular and the heat pump is providing all the hot water we need for washing up.

‘We are looking forward to seeing our first energy bill to see how much the heat pump is saving us. Our plan is that the money we save we can put towards expanding our community programme, including extra summer day trips this year.’

The TARA raises its own funds and is run entirely by volunteers who work to bring all sections of the local community together.

Chris Dale, director of Danfoss Heat Pumps UK said, ‘It is always great to see forward thinking social housing providers installing ground and air source heat pumps which can bring so many benefits to their tenants. Not only are they taking the lead by reducing carbon emissions, but they can help to alleviate the worry of ever increasing energy bills from people who have to live within a limited budget.’

Ground loops to supply the heat pump were installed in three 80m vertical energy wells in an area used for car parking at the front of the house, which was then resurfaced to provide a hard standing.

The heat pump works by circulating a refrigerant fluid around a circuit containing four elements: evaporator heat exchanger, compressor, condenser and expansion valve. Heat absorbed from the ground is transferred to the liquid refrigerant, which evaporates to form a gas. This gas is then compressed which causes its temperature to rise. The hot gas passes into the condenser where it starts to change back to a liquid as heat is transferred into the building. After passing through the expansion valve, the liquid refrigerant returns to the evaporator 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. The pump replaced a gas fired boiler.

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