Social Housing Case Study: Air Source Heat Pumps in Scotland

Property types: A variety of 2, 3 and 4-bedroom houses and 2-bedroom bungalows

Product installed: A mix of 5kW and 8.5kW air source heat pumps, External Wall Insulation (EWI)

Distribution systems: Radiators

Installation date: Heat Pump installations completed March 2013, EWI completed April 2013

Milton is a small village situated near to Invergordon. The majority of houses in Milton were constructed in the 1970's to accommodate the influx of families who came to work in the Nigg Fabrication yard and the Invergordon smelter. These houses are of solid wall construction and fall way below the current energy efficiency standards required in housing today.

Through the Carbon Portal Project, a social housing provider undertook a thermal imaging survey on the properties in Milton, which visibly displayed the high level of heat loss. The lack of both wall and loft insulation alongside the inadequate and expensive to run old electric storage heaters, meant that the tenants on this estate were unable to achieve affordable warmth in their homes.

The social housing provider is committed to reducing fuel poverty and there is also an obligation to bring housing stock up to Scottish Housing Quality Standards (SHQS) by 2015.

The village of Milton is recognised as an area of social deprivation and was therefore eligible for Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) funding to help pay for the upgrade works that were required. The works comprised of external wall insulation, installation of air source heat pumps and top-up loft insulation to 270mm where required.
Working in partnership the Sheffield Insulation Group (SIG), Ice Energy were contracted to provide the air source heat pumps for the 94 properties and also provided project management and tenant liaison services before and during the project. Given the location of the village and the time of year during which the project ran, the weather provided some interesting challenges to which Ice Energy rose in order to ensure timescales were adhered to. This was of particular relevance due to the rules around the CESP funding project completion deadlines.

As part of the project, the homes are among the first in the UK to benefit from Ice Energy  Remote Control Monitoring systems. These new controllers will enable Albyn to remotely monitor the temperature levels and overall performance of the heat pumps in their properties to identify potential issues at the earliest opportunity and implement solutions in a timely manner. Not only that, by identifying issues early which can be resolved remotely, the social housing provider can potentially avoid unnecessary call out charges.
With the project now complete, tenants have reported a significant difference in the warmth of their homes and, with the right tariff, a decrease in their electricity costs.

Solutions Used

  • 5kW and 8.5kW air source heat pumps depending on the property size
  • External Wall Insulation