Innovation award for ‘game-changing’ British ground source heat pump

Kensa’s ‘game-changing’ compact Ground Source Heat Pump, the Shoebox NX, which was designed to deliver Networked Heat Pumps to the mass market, has become the latest award-winning product from Kensa after it was named Product Innovation of the Year at Wednesday’s Unlock Net Zero Awards.

Launched in February this year, Kensa’s Shoebox NX is five times more efficient than a gas boiler and is the latest small heat pump innovation from the Cornwall-based ground source heat pump manufacturer and solutions provider. It stood out against other innovative nominated products from across the housing sector, impressing the Unlock Net Zero Awards judges. 

Small enough to fit in a cupboard and capable of heating anything from a high-rise flat to a five-bed home, the NX was designed with Kensa’s low-cost, low-carbon networked heat pump approach in mind. This system replicates the gas network model to present a viable mass-scale solution to decarbonise heat for over 60% of UK homes. 

Commenting on their decision, the Unlock Net Zero Awards judges said:

“Kensa’s Shoebox NX ground source heat pump is a highly innovative product that addresses multiple challenges facing the UK housing sector, from energy efficiency and decarbonisation to fuel poverty and climate resilience. A comprehensive approach to solving complex energy and environmental issues.”

Networked heat pumps consist of ground source heat pumps installed inside individual properties, whether flats, terraced streets, or new-build homes, connected to a shared network of hidden underground pipework. This provides each property with low-cost, renewable heating, hot water, and cooling.

The networked heat pump solution, using Kensa’s compact ground source heat pumps, is already providing affordable renewable heating for thousands of properties across the UK. Notable installations include 273 high-rise social housing flats in Thurrock, Essex, and the world’s first in-road retrofit project in Stithians, Cornwall, which saw a mix of existing private and social homes within a local community connected to the renewable heat source. 

Earlier this month, Kensa announced it was partnering with the UK’s largest installer and operator of last mile multi-utility networks, GTC, to supply tens of thousands of new build properties a year with renewable heating via networked heat pumps. New properties connected to this solution will be fitted with Shoebox NX or Kensa’s other compact ground source heat pump, the original Kensa Shoebox. 

This announcement follows Kensa receiving £70m in investment from Legal & General and Octopus Energy to scale up ground source heat pumps in the UK. Backed by its investors, Kensa expects to ramp up heat pump production to 70,000 a year by the end of the decade, creating over 7,000 green UK manufacturing jobs in the process. 

The Unlock Net Zero judges also gave highly commended recognition to two Kensa Contracting social housing heat decarbonisation projects. These included the project for Thurrock Council, entered in the Green Homes Upgrade of the Year – Central & East England category, and a project for Gravesham Borough Council, entered in the Green Homes Upgrade of the Year – London & South category. 

Speaking at the NX launch in February, Kensa CEO Tamsin Lishman said: 

“This is a game-changing heat pump designed for the UK. Until now, achieving mass heat pump rollout has been a complex challenge, but with the launch of our Shoebox NX, we’ve engineered a small, high-performance heat pump that’s ready to replace gas as the main home heating choice.

“When combined with our Networked Heat Pump solution, it unlocks cosy homes in the winter and cooler homes in the summer for almost anyone, and at low costs to the consumer. 

“For 25 years Kensa has been pioneering Ground Source Heat Pump technology, and with the Shoebox NX we’re ready to deliver heat pumps for everyone, cut household carbon emissions and make green home heating a reality.”

Shoebox NX facts and figures:

  • Small and compact, but packs the power and efficiency of large heat pumps - making the most efficient and lowest carbon form of heating accessible to properties with limited space
  • High efficiency, low electricity usage, and low maintenance deliver long-term cost savings for consumers compared to air source heat pumps
  • Is five times more efficient than a gas boiler - Coefficient of Performance of 4.36* (gas boilers typically operate at 0.9)
  • Has an A+++ energy efficiency rating and a 25-year life expectancy
  • Can heat water to over 60oC without the need for an immersion heater
  • Can provide passive cooling to cool homes during the summer at a much lower cost than air-conditioning
  • Designed to work in flats, apartments, terraced houses, tenements and new build properties

*Shoebox Coefficient of Performance of 4.36 is at operating conditions of B0/W35 tested in accordance with EN14511. In usual conditions, the inlet temperature from the ground is much higher than 0oC, so even higher performance can be expected.

Find out more about Kensa Heat Pumps on their member profile page here

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