Heat Pump investment to help save 4,000 tonnes carbon emissions a year

  • Posted: 09 Aug 2018

Thrive makes its first investment in heat

Thrive Renewables, a renewable energy company with 25 years’ experience, has made a £350k investment in Rendesco, an innovative ground source heat pump installer. The funds will form part of a £5.5 million seven-year bond, financing the rollout of over 100 ground source heat pumps to retirement homes across England.

Space heating and hot water accounts for 80% of UK residential energy consumption.  Almost 40% of the UK’s energy requirement is for heat with 70% of our heating requirements met by burning natural gas, resulting in 20% of the UK’s CO2 emissions.

Ground source heat pumps significantly reduce this negative environmental impact and help to alleviate fuel poverty by using underground pipes to extract heat from the ground to heat radiators, underfloor or air systems and water. The pump requires electricity to run but uses less power than it produces and therefore generates lower CO2 emissions – the typical ratio is 1:3.

The project Thrive is investing in will deliver a reduction of 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. That is enough for 3,300 return flights from London to New York , to build 50 new homes  or to make 193 million cups of tea.

Thrive has a portfolio of 21 renewable energy projects across the UK, and this is the company’s first investment in heat pumps.

“The potential for ground-source heat pumps to make greenhouse gas emission reductions is huge. We’re excited to be contributing to the deployment of this technology and to share our experiences gained from two decades in renewable energy to help make Rendesco a success,” says Matthew Clayton, Managing Director of Thrive. “We plan to use the learnings from this investment to support more heat projects in the near future and to continue to increase our positive impact.”

“The potential for ground-source heat pumps to make greenhouse gas emission reductions is huge. We’re excited to be contributing to the deployment of this technology and to share our experiences gained from two decades in renewable energy to help make Rendesco a success,”

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Rendesco has a compelling offer whereby it designs, installs and maintains ground source heat pumps for clients providing 20 years of low cost energy. After the 20 years, Rendesco gives the heat pump to the client. Over the last three years, the company has successfully delivered 21 systems in new build developments.

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 can be used throughout the year.

Each heat pump costs around £150,000, but Rendesco is able to deliver low cost and low emissions energy to the host. It achieves a return on its investment through the government’s non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payment, a 20-year inflation-linked subsidy. This model will allow Rendesco to repay the bond in full within seven years.

“Thrive is a well-respected industry name and we’re delighted to get this vote of confidence,” says Julian Sowerbutts, Managing Director of Rendesco. “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 heat pumps, we aim to save 4.2m kg of CO2 per kWh when compared to mains gas from the 100 target sites.”

In 2015, Heat Roadmap Europe found that the UK has the fourth highest heating and cooling energy demand among 14 countries analysed, but heat pumps delivered just 1% of this requirement.  This is compared to an EU average of over 10%, with Sweden producing around half of its heat renewably.

Thrive invested in Rendesco through Triodos Bank’s crowdfunding platform. The funds will 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. The company’s aim is to reduce carbon emissions, last year its portfolio delivered a reduction of 79,570 tonnes greenhouse gas emissions, which it hopes to increase to 100,000 by 2020.