Four council-owned properties in Somerset have been fitted with air source heat pumps in an initiative that aims to reduce energy bills for residents.
Taunton Deane Borough Council is testing the technology in four properties, all of which are bungalows situated in rural areas. Located off the mains gas network, the homes are reliant on electricity for power and heating, which is proving expensive for households.
The air source heat pumps are designed to distribute heat through a wet central heating system, which links to an 8kW air unit. Heat is distributed through radiators in the properties, which also benefit from new thermostatic valves and programmable thermostats.
Councillor Ken Hayward said: “As a council it is important that we continue to reduce our carbon footprint and to look for alternative and renewable sources of energy heating our properties”.
The councillor added: “By installing these units at four of our properties, we can fully assess the benefits to be gained. This is a very exciting project that keeps us at the forefront of Councils across the land in this field. Thanks to the team for all their hard work”.
The benefits of the air source heat pumps are yet to be fully realised, chiefly because the pumps were installed at a time when many households have stopped or significantly reduced their reliance on central heating. The return of the winter weather towards the end of the year should allow for a more accurate analysis of the initiative, which will be rolled out to other areas in Taunton depending on its success.
In the meantime, households in Somerset may wish to consider other energy saving measures to reduce fuel bills. In particular, houses should be fitted with double glazing as standard, whilst cavity walls and lofts ought to be adequately insulated.
Noting the rising cost of energy, Councillor Jean Adkins said: “Fuel poverty is a major concern to me as many tenants in working households are on low incomes, but do not qualify for heating allowances. I hope this will prove to be a viable option as all fuel prices are increasing rapidly”.