Star Renewable heat-pumps set to end fuel poverty for 350 homes in Glasgow housing scheme

Star Renewable Energy's Neatpump heatpump
Star Renewable Energy’s Neatpump heatpump

A ‘Clyde-built’ industrial heat pump capable of delivering affordable, low carbon heating and hot water for 350 households in the Hillpark Drive scheme is to be installed in the city for Glasgow Housing Agency by Star Renewable Energy.

Developed by a joint partnership between, Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), energy consultants WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Glasgow-based heat pump manufacturers Star Renewable Energy and Scottish Gas, the new renewable heating technology is now expected to become default solution to providing zero-carbon, low-cost heating for existing social housing stock across the whole country.

The 400kW/h air source heatpump is designed to be installed at an energy centre and connected to a centralised district heating network which will deliver low carbon heat to six buildings plugged into the scheme.

At 8 meters long and 10,000 kilograms in weight, the air source heatpump incorporates in-built control systems to enable remote monitoring and ensure optimum efficiency throughout its life-cycle of 20 years. With the use of the robust industrial manufacturing components, higher water temperatures of 600C are achieved, allowing for regular radiators to be used.

 Air source heatpumps are perfect for the UK’s mild climate as warmth is extracted from the outside air and then boosted up for distribution via a “wet” central heating system to the whole housing community.

This will be the first time an air-source heat-pump installation in Britain will provide central renewable heating for a block of high rise buildings.

Colin Reid, Energy & Sustainability Manager, Glasgow Housing Association, said: “We’re looking to gain fuel poverty alleviation for Hillpark Drive, a social housing estate built in the 1970’s which is currently fitted with electric storage heating.

“Heatpumps weren’t even a factor at the inception of this project as we had never thought it would be possible to work with heat pumps on this scale. GHA has only worked with small, individual heatpumps which we found to be unsuccessful. However, this is a different beast”,

Dave Pearson, Director of Glasgow–based Star Renewable Energy, said; “Many people believe that renewable energy is solely for modern buildings. But our new development demonstrates that this is most certainly not the case.

“If the government’s ambitious targets for a complete cessation of fossil fuels for heating is to be realised, we need sustainable and lower cost central community heatpumps capable of retrofit without the constraints and high infrastructure costs associated with other renewable technologies.”

Ewan Jures, Principal Engineer at WSP, gave details of the different options and factors affecting deployment of other low carbon technologies in the Hillpark Drive project, adding that they could not be deployed as “cost-effectively and rapidly” as the community air source heat pump.

 He added: “Biomass suffers from access for deliveries, air quality concerns and flue stacks; combined heat and power was off gas grid and has low grid export prices, ground source heat pumps were not an option as there was a lack of available and suitable grounding in the area; water source heat pumps were not suitable as there was no nearby body of water”, he said.

Jack Welsh, Scottish Gas Technical Sales Manager, Heat Networks, said that what he likes about the community scale heatpump is that “the modular unit is self-contained, and can be delivered to site as a plug and play product, allowing the technology to be fully controllable and easier to maintain.”

He said: “It is great to have another Scottish company involved to help deliver sustainable, low cost heating, with full support provided on an ongoing basis to ensure customers have full confidence in its reliability and high efficiency. The technology has a good role to play as a source of renewable, affordable heating within an urban setting and it contributes to a clean air environment in any area where it is deployed”.

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