Platform Housing Group has started work on a large-scale heating upgrade in the Midlands.
The social landlord will install a combined heat and power system at DeMontfort House in Oxford Street in the centre of Leicester.
The project – which has been in the planning for the last five years – has been part funded by National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund as well as Group funds.
The total cost of the project is £2.9m.
The 272 flats have, up till now, been heated by storage heaters using 1970s technology.
Platform says the building has been difficult to programme and expensive to run, while the heaters do not provide instant heating and hot water.
Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) – which administered the fund on behalf of National Grid – helped to establish the £150m Warm Homes Fund (WHF) to support local authorities, registered social landlords, and other organisations working in partnership with them to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.
The new heating system will be installed in all the flats as well as the communal areas for the first time.
It is a combined heat and power system (CHP), an energy efficient technology that generates electricity and captures the heat that would otherwise be wasted to provide useful thermal energy – such as steam or hot water – that can be used for space heating and domestic hot water.
This CHP system is Platform Housing Group’s first such heating system.
Nearly two-thirds of the energy used by conventional electricity generation is wasted in the form of heat discharged to the atmosphere.
Additional energy is wasted during the distribution of electricity to end users.
By capturing and using heat that would otherwise be wasted and by avoiding distribution losses, CHP can achieve efficiencies of more than 80%, compared with 50% for typical technologies.
The project will be completed in November 2021, and it will include the installation of a shower in each flat for the first time and instant heat and hot water.
Other benefits will include increased warmth for the entire building by heating of the communal areas, better efficiency, and a more environmentally friendly system.
Pressure will be the same as mains pressure and will also be improved.
An innovative metering system will be introduced as well.
DeMontfort House has 16 floors in total, offering single person or couples accommodation.
Kevin Carl, assistant Asset Management director (East), said: “Around four million UK households are in fuel poverty, unable to heat their home to the temperature needed to stay warm and healthy.
“As well as being on low incomes, many of these households are also faced with the additional burden of relying on heating systems that are expensive to run and inadequate for their needs.
“We are therefore delighted to be able to introduce our first ever large-scale heating system upgrade and look forward to the positive outcomes for our customers.”
Jeremy Nesbitt, managing director of Affordable Warmth Solutions, said: “We are excited about this investment from National Grid and are delighted to support this scheme.
“Solving the issues associated with fuel poverty continues to challenge many of our stakeholders and the feedback we’ve received provides evidence of how the Warm Homes Fund will make a positive difference to thousands of homes throughout Great Britain.”
As part of the project, Platform Housing Group has also been working with Yorkshire based High Aims Ltd, which works with housing associations to connect householders to the mains gas network.
Mark Ducker, director of High Aims Ltd, said: “Over the last few years, High Aims Ltd has enjoyed working with Platform Housing Group in the quest to achieve the true principles of sustainability.
“With the heating upgrades at DeMontfort House, not only is the project supporting social, environmental, and economic benefits for all stakeholders, it will also leave a legacy for future upgrades to expand the development even further.
“It shows real innovation at work. Well done Platform Housing Group.”
Nigel Dewsbury, director of Residential Solutions for E.ON UK, shared their pleasure at being selected as the contractor to carry out this installation.
Dewsbury said: “The inclusion of an energy efficient CHP unit at the heart of the new system clearly demonstrates Platform Housing Group’s and E.ON’s intent to assist low income tenants with low-cost heating bills as well as reducing carbon emissions to the betterment of the environment.”
Platform Housing Group owns 46,000 homes in total, and completed 1448 homes in 2019/20 at an investment of £258m.
Image: Platform Housing Group’s DeMontfort House in Leicester
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