ao link

Kensa Contracting and Energy Superhub Oxford Decarbonising heat through smart renewable energy systems

The £41m Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project, got underway in 2019 in response to the declaration of a Climate Emergency by Oxford City Council in January that year. The project aims to reduce emissions and improve public health by accelerating a switch to electric vehicles and decarbonization of heating.

Unlock Net Zero LinkedInTwitter
Energy superhub Oxford
Energy superhub Oxford

The £41m Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project, got underway in 2019 in response to the declaration of a Climate Emergency by Oxford City Council in January that year. The project aims to reduce emissions and improve public health by accelerating a switch to electric vehicles and decarbonization of heating.

By creating the world’s first low-carbon transport, power and heat energy superhub, with a 50MW grid balancing battery connected to superfast EV charge points, as well as 300 ground source heat pumps with smart controls, ESO is expected to save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Kensa Contracting, Oxford City Council and Stonewater Housing joined forces on the first stage of the project in 2020, which saw 60 homes at the Blackbird Leys site have their night storage heating system replaced with Kensa’s electrically-powered ground source heat pumps. The technology is highly efficient, which means lower running costs for tenants and greater payback from renewable subsidy schemes for system owners (landlords).

Clusters of shared borehole arrays act like a thermal grid, circulating heat energy to individual heat pumps installed inside each home. Each tenant has complete control over their heating system, which means no split-billing or metering requirements for landlords to worry about. It also gives tenants the flexibility to switch energy suppliers.

The ground source heating system is perfectly placed to operate on a flexible electricity tariff and cleverly designed to allow tenants to take advantage of cheaper power at the times of day when demand is low, without having to change their behaviours.

Each ground source heat pump is connected to a smart thermostat from Switchee which feeds data back to Kensa’s cloud-based heat optimisation platform to build up a picture of how and when each tenant likes their heating to come on, how long for, and what the optimum temperature is for their home.

The software will take a day-ahead forecast of half hourly electricity costs and create an optimal heating schedule, automatically shifting the heat pump to off-peak operating times where possible to save tenants money, whilst ensuring they are always warm and comfortable.

The smart heating system at Blackbird Leys is the first of its kind in the UK, and expected to save residents 3,520 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime and up to 25% off their heating bills, all without adding strain to the UK’s electricity grid.

Dr Matthew Trewhella, Managing Director at Kensa Contracting explains:

“The ESO project is pioneering a viable co-ordinated solution for achieving carbon reduction targets and reducing fuel poverty. By introducing flexibility in how and when ground source heat pumps run, this trial demonstrates how we can save residents even more money than typical ground source installations, even below the cost of gas. This work demonstrates how the clever integration of smart controls, time-of-use tariffs and heat optimisation software in every home will form a blueprint for organisations wanting to reduce the carbon footprint of their housing stock.”

Related Content

GreenClub switched on to London golf club’s energy ambition

GreenClub switched on to London golf club’s energy ambition

London Mayor calls for a ‘retrofit revolution’ to tackle the climate emergency

London Mayor calls for a ‘retrofit revolution’ to tackle the climate emergency

Max Fordham: Net Zero Carbon Guide

Max Fordham: Net Zero Carbon Guide