Services: Energy Services > Renewable technologies
Markets: Social housing
Date: 10/08/2016

Cotman Housing Association

Fuel poverty describes households where more than 10% of net income is used to pay for heat, light and power. With rapidly rising energy costs, more and more UK households are facing fuel poverty. To avoid putting residents in this plight, Cotman Housing Association (Places for People) asked Foster to suggest alternative methods of producing heat, light and power.

Foster set about finding a solution. We started with a series of thorough surveys to assess current heating systems. This included speaking to residents to get a real picture of their problems. As a result of our recommendations, Cotman Housing Association (Places for People) decided to replace the heating systems in a total of 20 properties. They asked us to install air source heat pumps ('ASHPs') combined with solar thermal panels. By choosing Mitsubishi Ecodan units the ASHP installations qualified for funding from Renewables East, with some properties benefiting from grants of £1,200. We helped with the funding process – making claims of up to £1,200 per property. When it came to installing systems, we showed residents a plan of the work that would take place and did our best to carry it out with minimal disruption.

While properties are well maintained, built to a high standard and have good thermal efficiency, Foster found that there were some measures that could be taken to improve quality further. Some existing systems were difficult to control and expensive to run, and residents reported problems with condensation-related mould growth and damp. Research pointed to replacing existing heating systems with an ASHP. Accommodation allowed ample space for the external unit and a good-sized airing cupboard for the hot water cylinder. ASHPs deliver constant levels of heating and provide lower fuel costs, which should help residents. Combined with solar thermal panels, this will reduce fuel costs further and supply ample quantities of hot water.

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