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Case Study

District Heat Network – Grampian Housing Association

Easy Heat Systems design and install a bespoke District Heat Network for Grampian Housing Association to reduce energy costs and carbon output of twenty properties in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

As the end of Grampian Housing Association’s heating contract approached, this provided the opportunity to replace outdated gas boilers, suffering from significant reliability issues, with a modern District Heat Network.

Easy Heat Systems were appointed to design and install a new District Heat System supported by Air Source Heat Pumps, Solar PV and Energy Storage. This comprised of three 45kW Air Source Heat Pumps, along with a 25kW Solar PV system with battery storage to offset the additional electrical demand of the District Heat Network.

The design of this system brought significant challenges. Primarily, the compact layout of the Mackenzie Gardens site restricted available space for the installation of the new plant and distribution systems. Overcoming these spatial constraints required meticulous planning and engineering.

To overcome spatial concerns, Easy Heat Systems conducted a thorough assessment of the available space and identified potential areas where plant and distribution systems could be installed. Our design team developed a compact layout for the plant and distribution systems, allowing access for service and maintenance in the future.

An area was chosen at the rear corner of the site which would allow us to provide a compact installation with the least amount of disturbance to the residents. This allowed us to optimise the distribution pipeline layout, limiting the quantity of pipeline required to link the system to the properties.

During the planning application, concerns were raised by Environmental Officers regarding potential noise, necessitating strategic measures to mitigate the operational noise of the new system.

To ensure that our systems met the highest standards of noise management, our acoustic engineer’s insights guided the selection of optimal design parameters, materials, and construction techniques, ensuring effective noise reduction while maintaining the system’s functionality and safety.

This allowed us to introduce an acoustic enclosure to serve as the primary measure for mitigating operational noise. The completed works exceeded our client’s expectations, as the system is hardly audible when standing just outside the enclosure.

Further complexity arose as the site was equipped with a single-phase electricity supply. This is insufficient for powering the new District Heat System and Solar PV adequately.

Accordingly, the site require a new three-phase power supply. Working in collaboration the distribution network operator (DNO), Easy Heat Systems managed the application process and installation of the new supply and meters.

Our electrical team designed electrical infrastructure to connect the new three-phase supply to the two new systems. This included the installation of all cabling, switchgear and distribution panels which would ensure the efficient transition of energy from the three-phase supply to the heat network plant and Solar PV systems.

As these properties were originally specified for conventional gas heating systems, their infrastructure had to be upgraded to operate efficiently with the Air Source Heat Pumps.

This required meticulous assessments of each tenement property and building structures. These surveys allowed our design team to make informed, data-driven decisions to customise the new heating systems accurately and to the individual requirements of each property.

To enhance the heat exchange process from the District Heat Network to each property, a heat interface unit was installed in the properties. In combination with a radiator design layout specific to each property, this ensured optimal distribution of heat within each property, maximizing comfort and energy efficiency.

Overall, Grampian Housing Association were delighted with the outcomes of this project. Easy Heat Systems place tenants at the forefront of our operations, and were delighted to receive positive feedback from the residents of Mackenzie Gardens. Initial concerns from some residents were quickly overcome when they saw how fast, clean and professional Easy Heat Systems operated, with less than four hours spent in each property.

Tenant feedback was so positive, that two residents which initially objected to the District Heat Network agreed to the upgrades and provided stellar feedback on the cleanliness and efficiency of the works.

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