Legal & General and Kensa: Heat the Streets
Heat the Streets is a 2 year project, part funded by the ERDF, demonstrating a sustainable pathway to net-zero for UK housing through networked ground source heat pumps and funded arrays, providing the 21st century alternative to the gas grid for rural and urban areas alike.
The Kensa Group is a fast-growing collective of British businesses involved in the manufacture and installation of ground source heat pump networks. Kensa is a long-established market leader and the only UK manufacturer of heat pumps. Over the past two years, Legal & General has invested a total of £15.7 million into the company.
Heat the Streets is a two-year initiative spearheaded by Kensa Utilities that aims to make clean, efficient, and renewable heating widely accessible. The scheme involves installing ground-source technology in new and existing homes across Cornwall; and it intends to act as a ‘greenprint’ for how we can decarbonise the streets of Britain. Crucially, each system will be connected to a communal network of underground piping that will extract renewable heat from boreholes – the shared element of which ensures that more buildings, whether they be residential or commercial, can easily be added to the system.
The boreholes are drilled 100 metres underground where liquid can absorb heat at a constant 10C-12C, which is then pumped into the home where the warmth can be condensed by the ground source heat pump to provide 100% of the home’s heating and hot water needs. Ground source heat pumps are renewable heating systems that harness heat from the ground or water sources and use it to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, and hot water. They can also be used to provide cooling. As the ground temperature in the UK typically remains between 8C – 12C all year round, ground source heat pumps are more efficient than air-source, which are subject to temperature changes in the mornings, evenings, and in the winter. A ground source heat pump is typically five times more efficient than a gas boiler.
The networked model of heat pumps is no different from the gas grid model. A ‘white box’ ground source heat pump is installed in the home, and the consumer pays a standing charge to connect to the heat network.
Ground source heating systems have the lowest carbon footprint, the lowest grid impact, and according to Kensa, can achieve efficiencies of 550% – meaning 5 times more energy is extracted than is put in. As such, the pumps can reduce the carbon output associated with heating each home by 70%, which also means lower operating costs. As the cost-of-living crisis continues, with an estimated 8.4 million people living in fuel poverty from April 2023, innovative solutions are required to ensure that people will be able to heat their homes without falling below the poverty line. At Legal & General, we recognise that ground source heat pumps are one of those solutions, which is why we have invested in Kensa to help increase production volume and create more energy savings for more end users.