A renewable heating project that has been described as “game changing” by the Energy Secretary, Edward Davey, MP, has just secured the Private Renewable Project of the Year Award at the H&V News Awards, the prestigious, annual ceremony celebrating the best of the country’s Heating and Ventilating industry.
Kingston Heights is a pioneering, £70m, mixed-used development in the heart of Kingston upon Thames which uses renewable heat from the River Thames to provide heating and hot water to 137 apartments and from the end of 2014, a new 142-bedroomed hotel.
The development is the vision of Mike Spenser-Morris, managing director of NHP Leisure Developments who originally had planning permission for a bio-mass heating system, but realised the renewable potential that lay in the river just 200 metres away.
Spenser-Morris believes the scheme paves the way for other developments near water, to benefit from this highly energy efficient system, doing away with the need for traditional combustion boilers, with their attendant carbon emissions.
“This open water heat pump system will be capable of producing over two megawatts of thermal energy for this development and will provide it 24/7, 365 days a year regardless of the weather or air temperature, even in the depths of winter,” he explains. “Almost every major city in this country is close to a river, lake, reservoir, canal or the sea.
The scheme, which utilises Mitsubishi Electric’s advanced Ecodan heat pump technology, produces zero on-site carbon emissions, in contrast to the estimated 500 tonnes of CO2that would otherwise by emitted by a combustion-based system.
At the official launch in October 2013, Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and MP for Kingston and Surbiton, said: “Kingston Heights is a great example of how sustainable solutions can help power entire communities. I want to see a community energy revolution where projects like this are the norm, not the exception.”
Mr Davey was also interviewed by the Independent on Sunday in March, where he described the project as ‘game changing’ and appeared recently on a special Sky TV News report which also gave Mike Spenser-Morris the opportunity to explain how the system points the way to more use of open water as a heat source.
“I’m delighted that the development is receiving recognition such as this award as it can only generate further coverage and help others realise the zero carbon potential,” he explained. 
Mr Spenser-Morris has also set up a dedicated company and website to share the experiences of the Kingston development with other parties interested in the technology.  Further details can be found at http://zerocarbonpartnership.com .
Kingston Heights has also secured ‘Best New Product or Technology Award’ at the 2104 Climate Week Awards (presented at Ecobuild by Greg Barker MP); and ‘Sustainable Buildings Awards at the Sustainable City Awards’, organised by the City of London Corporation.