As part of a £5.8 million regeneration project to enhance heating efficiency and slash bills by 50%, four 1960s tower blocks in North London have replaced their outdated electric underfloor heating systems with next generation radiators - all matched with renewable heat sources.
Located in Brimsdown, Enfield, the four identical residential tower blocks were refurbished through a joint initiative between the London Borough of Enfield, renewable energy specialist Ice Energy and energy efficiency consultancy AgilityEco. The award-winning Exeter Road Retrofit Project saw all four blocks - comprising 181 flats in total - undergo a series of extensive efficiency upgrades in a bid to tackle fuel poverty, raise heating standards and improve quality of life in the community.
In addition to installing external wall insulation and double glazing, the renovation work included a complete overhaul of each property's old, inefficient electric underfloor heating (UFH) system. The buildings are not connected to the mains gas grid, so Ice Energy designed a ground source heat pump (GSHP) solution, which uses natural energy stored underground as a renewable heat source.
The team then specified QRL hi-lo Compact panel radiators to work in conjunction with the GSHPs, as their super-efficient design makes them the ideal partner for renewables which run at lower temperatures than traditional heat sources.
Andrew Sheldon, founder and managing director at Ice Energy explains "These off-grid tower blocks were built more than half a century ago, and very little had been done to them since - so they were suffering from extremely poor energy efficiency and thermal performance. The failing electric UFH systems were permanently set to run at 27C, and this temperature could not be altered. This, combined with the buildings' high levels of heat loss, meant residents were forced to use electric storage heaters, which led to higher than average energy bills in what is already an economically disadvantaged area.
"As they make use of natural resources and don't require connection to the gas grid, GSHPs were the ideal antidote to high running costs and wasted energy - but pairing them with the right heat emitters was absolutely crucial to ensuring optimum performance and efficiency. The technical make-up of QRL's hi-lo Compact radiators means they are uniquely designed to deliver the best efficiency and heat transfer even at lower temperature even at lower Delta Ts, so they complement renewable heat sources perfectly. In fact, because they work so effectively, were also able to specify smaller radiators while still meeting the required heat output. This not only saved on upfront costs, but also meant we were using less steel, which was an added benefit from an environmental point of view. The fact that QRL radiators are manufactured in the UK was a further bonus, as it allowed us to buy British and minimise carbon emissions from transport. Logistically speaking, the smaller size of the radiators mean they take up less wall space in the flats too."
Enfield-based mechanical and electrical services contractor Oakray Limited was called in to install the new internal GSHP units, along with around 900 QRL hi-lo Compacts (an average of five in each flat).