Concerned about damp and mould? Talk to us

Delivering sustainable heating solutions for our Communities

Men Installing Solar Panels

Working with European partners, Places for People has successfully completed a project that provides sustainable heating solutions for our Customers in Norwich.

Collaborating with international projects 

At Places for People, we are always striving to find innovative and sustainable solutions for our Customers and Communities. That's why we are proud to have collaborated with the international SHIFFT project, Sustainable Heating Implementation of Fossil-Free Technologies, which aims to deliver sustainable heating solutions for different types of residential and Community Buildings.

Financially supported by the European INTERREG 2SEAS programme, the project’s objective was to reduce CO2 emissions from heating whilst also demonstrating and comparing sustainable heating technologies and solutions that support Customers and local stakeholders.

Sourcing sustainable heating alternatives

As part of the project, we implemented a pilot investment in one of our developments in Norwich. The homes in this development had ongoing issues with existing low carbon solutions, which would have been costly and not energy efficient. After studying the development, we were able to identify less complicated and more effective technologies which resulted in an investment in sophisticated solar panels, a new heating management system, and upgrades of existing heating pumps. Sunamp heat batteries were also installed to store renewable energy from the solar panels, which will support Customers in avoiding expensive and carbon-intensive peak-time energy from the grid. To further reduce energy costs for Customers, new heating meters were also installed in each home. These will ensure Customers are billed for exactly the amount they use and help them to monitor and control energy use.

Engaging and supporting to maintain trust

An important feature of this project was the co-creation strategy. We wanted to ensure that our residents had a voice and were consulted in regular meetings, at which Customers and colleagues gave their views. We also facilitated engagement between different stakeholders, including Customers, energy companies, suppliers, and the local Community. Rather than acting as a go-between, we encouraged direct contact between suppliers and clients, leading to changes in the project that contributed to the best possible results. This engagement ensured that all parties were fully informed and knew what it entailed – including details of proposed works, installation times, expected disruption,  and ultimately, how they would benefit from the new heating system going forward.

Speaking to Andrew Turnbull, Development Strategy Manager of Norwich City Council about the project he said:

“We have been grateful to have been involved in this project from its initiation. It should lead to more extensive collaborations between the City Council and housing providers in order to shape the energy transformation of our housing stock.”

Roll-out to further Communities

Works on the project concluded in January 2023; with the installation of a new hot water plant room with new ASHP and stratifying tanks as well as the installation of a PV array – which reduces the electrical demand of the property, carbon emissions, and costs. Additionally, the installation of a technical monitoring system to track the thermal energy and hot water use has provided the ability to remotely investigate and resolve any issues that may arise via the new software in place.

Our collaboration with the SHIFFT project has been an essential step towards a more sustainable future and we are proud to have played a part in it. By demonstrating and comparing sustainable heating technologies and solutions, the project has provided valuable insights into how Communities can transition to sustainable heating. Although complex, the results of the SHIFFT project have proved extremely positive with energy costs for our Customers reduced immediately due to the removal of expensive immersion elements. Long-term, thanks to this scheme and the savings in behavioural changes of a bigger group that we reached through our co-creation approach in Norwich, we aim to save 40 tonnes of CO2 per annum. With monitoring in place, once a full heat season has passed, results can be fully understood with the aim of replicating this in more of our Communities.

Men Sat At Gasway Stand