Kensa wins product innovation award for ‘game-changing’ ground source heat pump

A ‘game-changing’ ground source heat pump from Kensa, which was designed to deliver networked heat pumps to the mass market, has been named Product Innovation of the Year at the Unlock Net Zero Awards. 

An image of the Kensa Shoebox NX in a home cupboard.

Launched in February this year, Kensa’s Shoebox NX is five times more efficient than a gas boiler and is the latest small heat pump innovation from the Cornwall-based ground source heat pump manufacturer and solutions provider. It stood out against other innovative nominated products from across the housing sector, impressing the Unlock Net Zero Awards judges.

Small enough to fit in a cupboard and capable of heating anything from a high-rise flat to a five-bed home, the NX was designed with Kensa’s low-cost, low-carbon networked heat pump approach in mind.

This system replicates the gas network model to present a viable mass-scale solution to decarbonise heat for over 60% of UK homes.

Commenting on their decision, the Unlock Net Zero Awards judges said: “Kensa’s Shoebox NX ground source heat pump is a highly innovative product that addresses multiple challenges facing the UK housing sector, from energy efficiency and decarbonisation to fuel poverty and climate resilience. A comprehensive approach to solving complex energy and environmental issues.”

Affordable heating for thousands of properties

Networked heat pumps consist of ground source heat pumps installed inside individual properties, whether flats, terraced streets, or new-build homes, connected to a shared network of hidden underground pipework. This provides each property with low-cost, renewable heating, hot water, and cooling.

The networked heat pump solution, using Kensa’s compact ground source heat pumps, is already providing affordable renewable heating for thousands of properties across the UK. Notable installations include 273 high-rise social housing flats in Thurrock, Essex, and the world’s first in-road retrofit project in Stithians, Cornwall, which saw a mix of existing private and social homes within a local community connected to the renewable heat source.

Earlier this month, Kensa announced it was partnering with the UK’s largest installer and operator of last mile multi-utility networks, GTC, to supply tens of thousands of new build properties a year with renewable heating via networked heat pumps. New properties connected to this solution will be fitted with Shoebox NX or Kensa’s other compact ground source heat pump, the original Kensa Shoebox.

Scaling up heat pump production

This announcement follows Kensa receiving £70m in investment from Legal & General and Octopus Energy to scale up ground source heat pumps in the UK. Backed by its investors, Kensa expects to ramp up heat pump production to 70,000 a year by the end of the decade, creating over 7,000 green UK manufacturing jobs in the process.

The Unlock Net Zero judges also gave highly commended recognition to two Kensa Contracting social housing heat decarbonisation projects. These included the project for Thurrock Council, entered in the Green Homes Upgrade of the Year – Central & East England category, and a project for Gravesham Borough Council, entered in the Green Homes Upgrade of the Year – London & South category.

Speaking at the NX launch in February, Kensa CEO Tamsin Lishman said: “This is a game-changing heat pump designed for the UK. Until now, achieving mass heat pump rollout has been a complex challenge, but with the launch of our Shoebox NX, we’ve engineered a small, high-performance heat pump that’s ready to replace gas as the main home heating choice.

“When combined with our Networked Heat Pump solution, it unlocks cosy homes in the winter and cooler homes in the summer for almost anyone, and at low costs to the consumer.”

 Image credit: Kensa