New heat pumps f or Whithorn

The lives of social housing tenants in Whithorn have been transformed with installation of air-water heat pumps to provide energy-efficient heating to their homes.

The news was announced by Nancy Jonsson, product manager for heating and renewables at Daikin UK.

Residents of Whithorn, like many in the surrounding area, rely on electric storage heaters or open fires and back-boilers for heating because they live in off-gas homes. These appliances are relatively inflexible and often do not heat a home sufficiently.

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) owns and maintains more than 10,200 homes, including properties in Whithorn, and is committed to meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) requirements, which include ensuring its homes have a Standard Assessment Procedure rating of 60.

The SHQS, introduced in 2004, is the Scottish government’s principal measure of housing quality in Scotland. It sets out five broad housing criteria, including energy efficiency, which must be met by social landlords by April 2015.

The aim in Whithorn was to improve energy efficiency standards and reduce fuel bills in DGHP’s properties, providing a package of energy efficiency measures best suited to each home.

Given Whithorn’s location, it was clear renewable energy technologies were a better alternative to fossil fuel systems as they would provide tenants with the most energy efficient systems, thus reducing environmental impact and cutting fuel bills too.

DGHP and Scottish Gas Community Energy (SGCE) concluded that the best solution was to fit Daikin Altherma LT Split 6kW air-to-water heat pumps to DGHP’s 85 homes in the village.

Some tenants were initially sceptical about the concept of “free heat from the air around us” and needed to adjust to the idea of more output at lower temperatures being more efficient and effective than short bursts of higher temperatures from inefficient sources.

DGHP project engineer Danny Queen, who oversaw the installations, explains: “We visited all of the homes where the Daikin air-water heat pumps were installed and have conducted follow-up telephone satisfaction surveys as well. Customer satisfaction, especially with the installers putting in the heat pumps (a testament to the training they received) has been measured at almost 100%. Overall tenant satisfaction is the highest of all the projects DGHP have run.”

Post installation interviews with residents back this up. Mrs Murphy of Isle Street in Whithorn says: “I find the new system great; it is a far nicer heat than we had previously and the controls are so easy to use.” And Miss Frain of Isle Street adds: “I don’t miss the coal fire any more.”

Mrs Jolly, from Kings Road, Whithorn, says: “I think the new system is superb and its such a step up from what we had before. My whole house is warm rather than in certain rooms. It also saves me £20 a week.”