New heating systems to cut bills in Northumberland village

Tenants in a Northumberland village are enjoying warmer homes and cheaper bills thanks to a £220,000 pilot project to fit new heating systems in their properties.

Bernicia led the installation programme with energy giant E.ON at 11 retirement living bungalows it owns in the historic village of Norham, situated on the banks of the River Tweed,  just yards from the border with Scotland.

A skilled team from specialist contractors SHS Heating and Renewables Limited removed old electric heating systems from the properties – replacing them with state-of-the-art air source heat pumps fitted outside their homes.

The new systems draw heat energy from the outside to generate heat inside homes, powering new radiators fitted into the bungalows as well as new thermostatic showers.

Solar panels will be fitted onto the roofs of all 11 homes in March as the final part of the project, powering household electrical items and allowing tenants even more flexibility to manage their energy costs.

The air source heat pumps are three times more energy efficient than the old electric systems they replaced, producing three times as much energy for every kilowatt of electricity consumed.

Any new energy solution for the Norham homes could not involve gas as the village is not connected to the mains supply.

Gareth Wright, Bernicia retrofit manager, said: “We are focused on reducing the energy costs for our tenants, the older inefficient heating systems in these homes meant that some tenants felt they couldn’t afford to heat their homes properly.

“They thought it was too expensive to run and were sitting in one room of the house to cut down on the electric they used.

“The air source heat pumps and solar panels should help reduce their bills by heating their homes more efficiently, while also reducing the carbon intensity of their home.

“Our tenants are especially pleased with the heat and extra power of the thermostatic showers – their houses are noticeably warmer due to extra, bigger and more efficient radiators being installed.”

Bernicia is aiming to achieve SAP C energy ratings – the Government’s measure to assess a home’s energy and environmental performance – for at least 90% of its homes by 2025/26, making them more energy efficient.

Area housing officer Donna Audsley, said: “As the housing officer for North Northumberland which includes some of our oldest buildings, I am thrilled with how happy our residents are with the upgrade to their heating systems.

“The commitment to improve the older electric heating systems is of huge benefit to people’s homes and lives; they are more efficient and cost effective which in these times is vitally important.”

Pictured are tenant Edna Smith and Poppy Atterton, Bernicia’s environmental sustainability advisor.