Residents ‘over the moon’ as innovative Newcastle heating scheme concludes

by Francesca

Residents living in two Newcastle tower blocks have expressed their delight with their new heating systems after an innovative degassing project led by EQUANS completed recently.

In partnership with Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), EQUANS worked in the Denton Park House and Hilltop House tower blocks in West Denton as part of a £3.8m project to completely remove the old gas-powered central heating system, and replace it with Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs).

GSHPs work by drilling holes deep into the ground and harnessing natural heat from the earth by pumping water through pipes that are buried in the ground. The heat pump then increases the temperature, and the heat is used to provide home heating or hot water.

The benefit to residents are lower energy bills and a reduction in the carbon footprint of both blocks, thanks to the complete removal of the old gas system.

That’s coupled to a smart thermostat from Switchee, which allows residents to control their heating with precision, meaning that heating and hot water is matched to the way that they live.

Laurence Rodden, who lives in Denton Park House, said: “There was disruption when the works went on, but you have to put up with that, because the end result is great. There’s no pipes showing in my flat, and the system we use to set our heating is brilliant – we don’t touch it! It’s set up to suit us and we can just leave it.

“I can’t say enough about how good the system is. I’m over the moon, absolutely over the moon!”

Tim Wood, Director of Sustainability & Innovation at EQUANS, said: “I am really happy to hear residents in the blocks being so positive about the project. It is a big change from the old ducted air system, but it’s one that will benefit them into the future – they’ll see a benefit in their energy bills, and the carbon footprint of the two blocks has greatly reduced.

“EQUANS is committed to working closely alongside housing associations, and other social landlords, to help reduce the environmental impact of their housing stock. The works at Denton & Hilltop is another example of how we can provide solutions which work for organisations and residents.”

The work was supported by Newcastle City Council, who secured £1.4m from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive to help fund the scheme.

Tina Drury, Managing Director at Your Homes Newcastle, said:  “Your Homes Newcastle manages around 26,000 homes in Newcastle so we know we have an important role to play in helping to reduce carbon emissions across the city.  Replacing gas central heating with ground source heat pumps in these multi-storey blocks is a very effective way of reducing the carbon footprint of these buildings, but we’re also interested in projects that make an immediate and tangible difference to our customers’ lives, especially at a time like this when we know that rising energy costs are a significant worry for many of our customers. 

“This system improves the way our customers heat their homes and means they can do it for less money so it’s fantastic to see this work come to life and we look forward to using our learning from this experience to support more carbon reduction schemes in the future.”

Cllr Jane Byrne, Newcastle City Council Connected City Cabinet Member, said: “Improving the energy efficiency of homes and buildings across the city is one of the key measures we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint.

“It’s fantastic to see the installation of these new heat pumps has been so well received by residents.

“Through initiatives such as this and the successful delivery of the Electrification of Heat programme, where we installed over 300 heat pumps into a range of residential properties, we are taking positive steps to make homes greener and more cost effective.

“We will continue working closely with partners as we look to expand the roll out of heat pumps to more homes in the city to help create more sustainable futures for our communities.”

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