Heat the Streets


Heating is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions in the UK and to reach Net Zero by 2050, low carbon heating must be employed across the UK.

Kensa Utilities Limited has been awarded a £6.2 million grant by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to part-fund Heat the Streets, an £8.7 million Cornish renewable heating project.

The Heat the Streets project was awarded funding to support the shift towards a low carbon economy. The project aims to add 3.5 megawatts of renewable heat, reduce green house gasses by 786 tonnes a year, and reduce the energy consumption of households involved.

Energy Systems Catapult worked with Kensa Utilities Limited and Winning Moves to deliver an ERDF summative assessment.

The challenge

Heating homes using fossil fuel gas contributes around 14% of total UK carbon emissions.

Low carbon heating will help to reduce carbon emissions. One form of low carbon heating are ground source heat pumps. A ground source heat pump is a renewable heating system that extracts low-temperature solar energy stored in the ground or water using buried pipework and compresses this energy into a higher temperature.

However, there are currently several significant barriers to heat pump deployment:

  • High upfront cost
  • Grid capacity

The innovation

Heat the Streets demonstrates a pioneering a new business model that installs highly efficient low carbon ground source heat pumps on a street-by-street basis, making the technology accessible to more households across the country and helping the UK realise its ambitious Net Zero carbon targets.

The Heat the Streets project will involve the installation of ground source heating systems, connected to shared ground loop arrays, in hundreds of new and existing homes in Cornwall. Shared ground loop arrays are a form of ultra-low temperature heat networks that mimic gas networks. By treating the arrays as shared infrastructure, and only charging customers an annual connection fee, it reduces the high upfront cost typically associated with heat pumps.

Properties connected to the shared ground loop arrays will receive their own ground source heat pump, offering residents full control over their heating, independent billing, and the flexibility to switch energy suppliers, much like a traditional boiler.

Each heat pump as part of Heat the Streets project will utilise smart control technology. The smart controls will be linked to a cloud-based heat optimisation platform, that combines property information with time of use tariffs to produce an optimised heating schedule. This will help customers to use electricity outside of times of peak demand and in turn reducing grid pressure. This, combined with the efficiency of ground source heat pumps, can reduce the lifetime running costs below that of gas boilers.

Heat the Streets will demonstrate the feasibility of ground source heat pumps and shared ground arrays as a viable alternative to gas mains.

Our approach

Energy Systems Catapult will help Kensa Utilities Limited deliver an ERDF summative assessment. Here are some of the activities we are helping out with:

  • Interviewing consumers whose homes are being connected to the new system – to understand and improve their experiences
  • Interviewing stakeholders including the internal project team and the supply chain helping to deliver the project
  • Assessing public awareness of ground source heat pumps.

With the conclusion of the project, Energy Systems Catapult, Kensa, and Winning Moves delivered an ERDF summative assessment.The three short reports summarise the key findings of the summative assessment, with relevant content for three audiences: policymakers, new build developers, and household customers. The aim of the reports is to raise awareness of the project and the approach taken.

Read the report

Heat the Streets: Project summary for policy makers

Read the report

Heat the Streets: Project summary for new build developers

Read the report

Heat the Streets: Project summary for householders

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