Underground heating proposal could help seniors in Brighton

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HEATING and hot water for residents at a seniors housing scheme in Patcham in Brighton could be provided by a heating system pumping heat from underground.

An innovative proposal to install a ground source heat pump at Elwyn Jones Court will be considered by the Housing Committee on 15 January.

Councillor Gill Williams, Chair of the Housing Committee, commented on the proposal: “This is an exciting proposal and, if it gets the go ahead, will be the first time the council has installed a ground source heat pump on a residential building.

“Residents at Elwyn Jones Court will benefit from a more efficient heating and hot water system, and the prospect of lower energy bills, and there will be wider benefits of a significant reduction in carbon emissions.”

The council-run scheme is home more than 80 residents, aged 55 and over, living in individual flats.

Their homes are currently heated by night storage heaters which are old, inefficient, and expensive to run.

Replacing them with a new low carbon heating and hot water system is expected to cut energy bills for residents and the council, reduce emissions, and generate income from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

The new system would involve drilling boreholes in the grounds of the scheme to extract heat from underground.

Each flat would have its own control system for heating and hot water, and the pump would also supply communal areas at Elwyn Jones Court.

Residents at the scheme in South Woodlands are being consulted and have welcomed the idea of an upgrade to their existing system.

Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones, the opposition lead for housing sustainability, said: “As a council we are committed to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030, and this proposal is an example of the practical steps we are taking to help us achieve this.”

A report to the committee says the cost of the project is estimated at £590,000.

It is expected to generate annual income for the council of nearly £35,000 through the Renewable Heat Incentive and a reduction of more than £41,000 in electricity bills for the council and residents.

The full report is available in the 15 January 2020 Housing Committee papers (agenda item 47).