The project will feature 16 shared ground loop systems serving eight tower blocks in Enfield, London.

Kensa Contracting, which is heading up the scheme alongside French utility firm Engie, says it will connect retrofitted heat pumps in 400 flats to the largest collection of district arrays of its kind.

“This project is an excellent example of how district heating can be rolled out using the shared ground loop system architecture,” said Kensa’s contracting director Dr Trewhella.

“Not only do ground-source heat pumps provide the lowest cost heat, they also deliver substantial carbon savings, and landlords benefit from the exceptionally low servicing and maintenance costs.”

Flexibility and scalability

Each system will typically consist of clusters of eight boreholes serving individual heat pumps installed within the flats of half a tower block.

The shared nature of the design reduces drilling costs, enables residents to choose their own energy supplier, and ensures funding through the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme and Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

“One of the great strengths of this system type is its flexibility and scalability,” Trewhella said.

“Shared ground loop systems can be featured in developments of just two properties (micro-district) whilst this project clearly demonstrates how the concept can be scaled up to much larger systems.”

Drilling of the boreholes has already commenced with one site’s groundworks planned for completion before the end of 2018.

Estimates suggest that heat networks could deliver up to 18% of UK heating demand by 2030, up from current levels of 2% today.

The Government recently awarded £24m for nine district heat network infrastructure projects across the country to provide households and businesses with clean and efficient heating systems.

George Ogleby

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie