Around seven months ago, we invested £350,000 in Rendesco, a company which designs, installs and maintains ground source heat pumps in new build retirement homes. Since then, the project has been rolled out extremely successfully, with 45 heat pumps installed at new build sites across the country, and another 23 set to be completed this year.
Space heating and hot water accounts for 80% of final residential energy consumption in the UK. 70% of our heating requirements are met by burning natural gas, resulting in 20% of the UK’s CO2 emissions. Ground source heat pumps significantly reduce this negative environmental impact by using underground pipes to extract natural heat from the ground to heat radiators, underfloor or air systems and water.
Buildings like retirement homes, which need to be warm and cosy all day, can be particularly difficult to heat efficiently. Running a heat pump costs around 30% less than an equivalent gas boiler, 40% less than oil and 60% less than LPG, so as well as reducing carbon emissions, they can also lower energy bills. Heat pumps also have a longer life than combustion boilers and require less maintenance. The ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump system can be used throughout the year.
“This is our first investment in renewable heat and we are really pleased with the progress that Rendesco is making so far with installations. The potential for ground-source heat pumps to make greenhouse gas emissions reductions is huge and we really look forward to seeing how much carbon these retirement homes are saving, as well as the impact in reducing residents’ energy bills.” Matthew Clayton, MD, Thrive Renewables
Our investment forms part of a £4.1 million seven-year bond, financing the rollout of 100 ground source heat pumps to retirement homes across England and Wales. Rendesco achieves a return on its investment through the government’s non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, a 20-year inflation-linked subsidy. This model will allow Rendesco to repay the bond in full within seven years. The funds have come from a £1 million investment allocation that Thrive has ringfenced for new sustainable energy technologies, such as heat, energy storage and other innovative solutions.
“In 10 years, we expect one in seven Britons to be over 75. As a result, developers are building blocks of retirement apartments across the country. This surge of new buildings could contribute to a rise in CO2 emissions. However, by using ground source heat pumps, we aim to save 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year when compared to mains gas from the 100 target sites. That’s enough to build 50 new homes.” Julian Sowerbutts, MD, Rendesco.